Over a third of the jobs promised by Tesco at Spital Hill will now be delayed until 2015.
The new Tesco Extra, the largest type of store selling everything from mangos to microwaves, was originally approved on condition Tesco would provide muchneeded regeneration in the area, including 600 new jobs. The store itself would provide 395 jobs, with retail units providing 21 and an office block adding 204.
Planning officers required Tesco to include offices and “public realm” improvements, around Caborn’s Corner, as a condition of planning permission.
However the Planning Board on November 2nd approved Tesco’s latest plan to delay some of the work for an extra three years. Under the new plans, work on the Tesco store, retail units and multi-storey car park will be completed by 2012.
Carlisle Street will be closed to traffic and there will be parking for 739 cars. The store will be allowed to trade for three years before work on the offices is required. This must then be completed within 12 months.
Despite accounting for almost 30% of grocery sales in the UK and reporting increased profits in the recession, Tesco blame the economic downturn for the change.
Tesco are required to build the offices but there is still uncertainty as to whether they will meet the planning requirements. Councillor John Hesketh, Chair of the Planning Board, said,
“I’ve no idea whether they will build it or not. Tesco are aware of the legal requirements of the build. Whether they decide to go ahead under those is up to them.”
A Tesco spokesperson said the bulk of the jobs are at the store itself: “The new arrangement means we can deliver the store, training and jobs for local people as soon as possible. The offices will then follow – providing a mix of accommodation to suit a variety of businesses and creating around 200 further jobs.”