Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Supermarket bosses at Tesco have pulled the plug on plans to expand the Salterton Road store – opening the door for the earmarked site to be used for new homes.
But both Tesco and county council chiefs deny that the supermarket chain is set to buy the Doyle Centre next door – a former educational and lifeskills hub for adults with learning difficulties, writes David Beasley.
In January Tesco admitted that it had suspended plans to expand the store by a third for at least another year. It had purchased the land from the neighbouring Glenorchy United Reformed Church.
But this week Tesco told the Journal it was looking for ‘other uses’ for the land and admitted it was not sure what it wanted to do with it – however new homes are a distinct possibility.
Only last month Tesco announced it was scaling back its expansion plans in the UK, and planned to use some of its vast land bank to build homes.
The firm owns enough land to build 15,000 homes in the UK and says it intends to build 4,000 homes in the South East and in parts of the South West by 2017.
A Tesco spokesman said: “In light of changing customer shopping habits, we’ve decided that an extension to our store in Salterton Road is no longer the best way to serve the local community. Over the coming months we will be working to find an alternative use for the land next to our store and we’ll keep the local community updated.”
That the land is next to an empty county council facility, and the authority needs cash, has prompted speculation that Tesco was eyeing up the site, but the spokesman denied this, adding: “We have no plans to buy the land.”
A county council spokesman said that the supermarket giant had made enquiries about the land ‘some years ago’ but later told the authority it no longer wanted it.
He said: “We’re not thinking of selling it, and we’ve not had any recent conversations with Tesco. The rumours are unfounded. No decisions have been made about the future of the [Doyle Centre] site.”