Anger at state of plot owned by Tesco in Oakham

Overgrown land between Tesco and Penn Street, Oakham. EMN-150510-112250001
Overgrown land between Tesco and Penn Street, Oakham. EMN-150510-112250001
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Residents angry at the state of an Oakham town centre plot owned by Tesco have called on the firm to clean it up before it is sold.

People living in Penn Street, particularly in the Saville Court complex, have watched in despair as the plot behind their homes has become wild and full of debris.

The plot, between Tesco and Penn Street, was originally part of the firm’s expansion plans and would have become a car park. But Tesco dropped those plans in the summer, just weeks after Sainsbury’s shelved its plans to open in the town.

Tesco confirmed this week that it was now looking to sell the site. A spokesman said: “We are actively marketing this site and hope to bring it back into use as soon as possible. In the meantime, we are keeping the site safe and secure.

“Our groundworks team will soon revisit the site carry out routine maintenance.”

But this does not satisfy the residents who have been lobbying the company to clear the site fully for months.

Ray Stace, speaking on behalf of Saville Court, said he was sick of Tesco’s “delaying tactics and complete waffle”, and the “many broken promises” residents have been given.

E-mails seen by the Mercury suggest Tesco had planned to clear at least some of the area, but this amounted to grass cutting and the removal of some old fencing.

“They go to great effort now not to mention a time scale or commit to a date, but we can assume they will do nothing to fulfil any false promises they might unwittingly make,” said Mr Stace.

“The bottom line is we don’t believe what they say anymore.”

The overgrown plants now cover the bulk of the debris on the plot, which includes the remains of a number of trees that were chopped down some time ago.

Mr Stace added: “The ivy is now growing over the wall, and will cause damage in due course if it has not yet already done so. Will Tesco be prepared to cover the costs of potential damage repairs? I very much doubt it.

“We are more disillusioned than before to feel that Tesco can now withdraw past commitments to clear the site.”