A START date for work on a new Tesco supermarket in Manningtree has still not been set - 18 months after planning permission was given.

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Bosses from the supermarket giant said a time frame for the controversial store in Station Road had not yet been finalised.

Tesco was given planning permission by Tendring District Council (TDC) in 2011. An appeal against the decision was lodged by the East of England Co-op but was thrown out at the end of last year, paving the way for work on the new store to begin.

Chris Bowden, chair of the Stour Community First group, which opposed the application, said he was surprised work had not yet begun on the supermarket.

He said: “There are a number of conditions Tesco has to meet before but I would have thought these would have been carried out by now.

“We remain hopeful our fight wasn’t unsuccessful. Their first application for a larger store was rejected, maybe they don’t feel they would make enough money to justify building it.

“It’s very interesting because they went on the record saying ‘we are going to build it as soon as we can.’

“Supermarkets are going through an interesting time at the moment and it always comes down to whether they will make enough money.”

He said the group was not opposed to Tesco itself, but did not think a supermarket on the scale proposed was needed in the town.

He added: “Given where they are, they could have a time scale in mind.

“As it gets closer to the expiry it will be interesting to see what they do.”

A spokesman from Tesco said: “We remain committed to bringing a store Manningtree and are pleased to have finally got the green light from the Court of Appeal to proceed.

“We understand this has taken a long time to resolve and are grateful for the ongoing support we have received.

“We have not yet finalised the time frame for the store to open but as soon as we have any news, we will share this with the local community.”

The approved plans were a scaled down version of an initial application which was rejected by the local authority in 2010.

Under the planning conditions laid out by Tendring District Council (TDC), Tesco has until November 2014 to begin work before their permission expires.

A spokesman from the local authority said: “Tesco was given planning permission in November 2011 and they need to start work by November 2014 under that permission.

“Should they not do so and wait to proceed with the scheme they would need to get a renewal.”

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