Inverness Council wisely refuses 'Tesco Town' ~ Tesco-Complaint

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Inverness Council wisely refuses 'Tesco Town'

THE HERALD REPORTS THE conquest of Inverness by the supermarket giant Tesco - which already rakes in more than half the population's grocery spend - was halted yesterday. The group, whose three existing supermarkets have resulted in the Highland capital being dubbed Tesco Town, wanted a fourth.

But members of the Highland Council's City of Inverness Planning Applications Committee were unanimous in turning down the application for a development on Ness-side at Dores Road. The 4447sq m superstore was to have been part of a district shopping centre, also including unit shops, a petrol filling station, and sites for a hotel and doctors' surgery.

The site is at the western end of the Inverness trunk road link. The committee was told that 73 letters of representation and a petition containing 1054 signatures against the proposal had been received by the council, and that Holm Community Council had expressed serious concerns regarding the proposal. The decision brought relief to local campaigners alarmed by the threat to small local shops from the encroachment of the store chain. Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket chain, whose presence in Scotland burgeoned after the takeover of the William Low chain, now accounts for 51p out of every £1 spent on food in Inverness.

Planning permission for the Ness-side development was refused on the grounds that the proposal went against the Inverness Local Plan in respect of retailing. The committee said the scale of the proposed foodstore was out of proportion to the scale and function of the Ness District, to an extent where it would hinder the establishment of smaller district-level shopping areas they wanted to establish in the other centres identified in the local plan.

It was also contrary to Policy G2 of the Highland Structure Plan in respect of design, since without an indication of parking associated with the hotel and surgery uses, the layout and siting of the buildings might have affected the overall integrity of the development.

The applicants will now be entitled to appeal to the Scottish Executive Inquiry Reporter's Unit. A spokesman for Tesco said later: "We are very disappointed at the decision and we are reviewing our options."