Tesco 'compromise' in planning row

A SUPERMARKET giant which flouted planning laws by building a storage area without permission has offered to shave more than a metre off its extension.

A SUPERMARKET giant which flouted planning laws by building a storage area without permission has offered to shave more than a metre off its extension.

For months Tesco and St Edmundsbury Borough Council have been locked in negotiations over an 8.5m high storage area at its Fornham Road store in Bury St Edmunds.

The storage and cage marshalling area, which spans an area of 150m by 130m to the side of the main supermarket, was built before plans for the scheme went before the council's planning committee.

When it looked at the scheme in July last year, committee members turned down Tesco's bid.

Neighbours living nearby complained the extension was too high and blocked out their light.

Tesco has now come back with a new planning application, in which it offers to cut the height of the extension by four feet, tile over it and carry out landscaping at the rear.

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In its letter to the council, agents for the scheme Cushman and Wakefield said: “These changes are intended to respond so far as possible to concerns expressed by the residents and members.

“The bulk store extension is an integral element of the overall operation of the store, and holds all stock for the replenishment of the sales floor. Unfortunately, it is not possible to reduce the height of the bulk store extension by more than 1.2 metres as this would result in operational problems.”

David Nettleton, council member for the area, said the tiling and landscaping were probably the most important parts of Tesco's latest plans.

He said he would be speaking with those in the area to find out what they thought of the changed scheme.

“It has just come through and we've now got a bit of time to have a look at it in detail and I will be getting feedback,” he said.

Tesco first won approval for the extension in 2003. It then got permission to change the layout in 2005. But the supermarket chain then changed the layout of the storage area and lodged a planning application in July last year - after the works were carried out.

Despite planning experts at the council recommending the supermarket's plans be approved, committee members voted against them, meaning the extension had been altered without permission.

The latest plans will be looked over by planning officers before it goes back before the council's planning committee in March.