Tesco expansion on hold until Sainsbury’s decision

Tesco in South Street, Oakham
Tesco in South Street, Oakham
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Plans to double the size of a supermarket have been put on hold while the firm waits to see if a rival chain will get the go-ahead to build a store.

Tesco was given planning permission in 2011 to extend to the south and west, taking up some of the existing car park and creating a mezzanine level.

But the supermarket chain has said its plans, which would create 100 jobs, are on hold while it waits for a decision on proposals to build a Sainsbury’s store in Oakham.

Sainsbury’s wants to construct a 27,000 sq ft store on the former Rutland County College site inBarleythorpe Road.

Tesco’s intentions were revealed in a letter of objection to the Sainsbury’s proposals, sent to Rutland County Council last week.

The letter states: “We are committed to this scheme, however due to the uncertainty resulting from the application at the college site this has delayed us making a decision and it has been held in abbeyance until there is further clarity on the retail position in Oakham.”

Tesco is also objecting to the Sainsbury’s proposals because it says the site is out of town and is concerned it would affect its store.

It also believes its planned extension was not taken into account when the amount of retail space needed in the county until 2026 was put together in 2010.

Councillors approved Tesco’s extension plans at a full council meeting in November 2010 and it was officially signed off in March 2011. A condition was attached to the approval stating work must start on the development within three years, meaning Tesco must start the work before March next year.

Waitrose and Lindum Group, which was acting on behalf of Waitrose at the time, also sent letters objecting to Sainsbury’s plans in December.

Waitrose said it hoped to build a 21,000 sq ft supermarket on the site currently occupied by Tim Norton Motor Services in Long Row, Oakham.

This week Lindum Group director Chris Callaghan said he hoped to bring forward an application for a retail store in four to six weeks.

He said he was “not in a position to commit Waitrose to that application” and said it would be a general retail application.

A Waitrose spokesman said: “We have no agreements in place currently but are still keen to achieve our long-standing ambition of opening a shop in Oakham.”

It is not yet known when the Sainsbury’s application will be considered by the council’s planning committee.