Tesco store planned for former St Albans tile shop?

AN application to demolish a building and create what’s suspected to be a new Tesco store with eight flats above has gone before council planners.

The proposal for the former tile shop in Hatfield Road at the junction with Sutton Road and opposite the Rats Castle pub has been submitted by a Mr Bellow but the drawings within the planning document are marked ‘Tesco Stores’ under the project title.

But there’s no mention of the supermarket chain within the bodytext of the application, only that the developers wish to create a “convenience store” underneath the development for eight two-bedroom flats with no additional car parking spaces.

It’s not known who owns the site but it is currently being used as an antiques emporium and a hairdressing salon with five disused bedsits above.

The application is for a new three-storey building containing eight two-bedroom flats with additional roof space for private and shared amenity, along with 5,285 square metres of retail space on the ground floor.

Two disabled car parking bays are proposed to the rear of the development, replacing the existing two to three spaces, and at least one on-road parking space will be lost with a new vehicle cross-over. The applicants sell the development as “car free” and argue it would be well serviced by public transport, leaving it unlikely to have any material impact on congestion, safety problems or harm to the environment.

But Mathew Baxter of Echelon Consulting, which adjoins the site, raised a number of concerns about the application this week, citing his biggest concern as the impact on parking in the immediate vicinity. He said that it was already extremely difficult to park in that area of Fleetville with his company having to install security cameras to monitor their three allocated spaces and he feared that staff working at the new convenience store would further compound the problem should they be drivers.

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Tesco was unavailable to comment this week.