Tesco bid ‘may be scaled back’

TESCO’S plan to scale back on building large supermarkets could mean proposals for a giant store in Belper are axed, campaigners are hoping.

Britain’s biggest retailer confirmed it was scaling back development work in favour of constructing hundreds more Express convenience stores as part of a £1 billion revival.

The announcement came just days after a huge council-led consultation over land to the north and south of Derwent Street – where Tesco has been trying to build a supermarket since 2007 – came to an end. Tesco does own some land there.

The town’s Belper Against Tesco Superstores (BATS) group also hopes any protections which will be built into Amber Valley Borough Council’s planning guide as a result of the consultation will make it more difficult for the retailer to move into protected local buildings.

And when combined with the retail giant’s new strategy to rein back big store openings and focus its efforts on expanding its smaller convenience stores it is thought Tesco bosses will have little option but to consider a smaller development.

Vickie Minion, co-chairman of BATS, said: “It seems to be a step in the right direction. BATS as a group has been going for five years and we wonder whether the world has moved on now.

“Our concerns and lobbying have taken a lot of our time, but it does seem to be bearing out.

“From Tesco’s point of view they haven’t done as well recently and they are focusing on smaller stores.”

Amber Valley Borough Council appointed consultants from East Midland Councils to take a fresh look at the site where Tesco proposed building a new store. No application has been submitted for the site as yet. This consultation finished on April 9 and the results are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

Some of the ideas that have been suggested for the area include a new riverside park, a heritage hub and the reinstatement of a historic walkway.

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The information will be turned into a planning document, which will make it harder for Tesco to develop the area without taking on board local concerns, say BATS.

Mrs Minion continued: “We are hoping the criteria will be set in a way to prevent one large unit.

“The size and scale of any development should compliment the existing high street. There are lots of Belper people who share our opinions.”

A spokesman for Tesco said