Tesco's Tenbury plan D-Day looms for council planners

Ludlow Advertiser: Tesco is waiting for a decision on its third plan for a store in Tenbury. Tesco is waiting for a decision on its third plan for a store in Tenbury.

THE controversial plan for a Tesco superstore in Tenbury will be determined by planners next week.

The hall at the town’s high school will be packed to the rafters when Malvern Hills District Council planners vote on the proposal for the former cattle market site on Wednesday night.

Councillors are expected to recommend approval for the supermarket development that has split Tenbury down the middle for nearly two years.

And fears that the meeting would need to be put back yet again have been put to rest by council chiefs.

A plan for the restoration of the old fire station that sits within the site remains open for public consultation until the day of the planning meeting – so cannot be heard.

However, Councillor Tony Penn, who represents Tenbury on Malvern Hills District Council and chairs the planning committee, has confirmed that this will not stop a decision being made.

“The planners are clear that the applications for the supermarket and for the old fire station are entirely separate,”

he said.

However, the retail giant has said that if the changes to the fire station building can go ahead they will enter into discussion about it becoming a new home to the Tenbury Museum that is currently housed in the old school building in Cross Street.

Tesco’s plan for a supermarket has divided the town since they were first submitted in May 2010.

An initial application was withdrawn and resubmitted only for it to be rejected by Malvern Hills planners early last year.

This was followed by a prolonged period of consultation before a new scheme was devised that was originally expected to be determined last autumn.

But only now is it ready to go before the committee.

If approval is granted there will be a 12 week period during which objectors could apply for judicial review if they believe the case has been mishandled.

This would mean the earliest work could begin would be mid-June and as it would have to be cleared and the Russell and Bright building which is on the site demolished.

It is unlikely Tesco could meet its initial objective of having a store open in time for Christmas 2012.

Should planners reject the application Tesco would have to decide whether to lodge an appeal, submit a new application or walk away from the town for good.

The planning meeting is on Wednesday at 6pm.

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