Tesco expansion bid angers city residents

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SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has drawn up plans to extend a Sheffield city centre store - to the anger of residents.

The company has applied for planning permission to expand its West Street shop into the closed Wokmania restaurant next door, roughly doubling the supermarket’s floor space.

Application documents produced by planning agents DPP say the extension will create 30 new jobs.

The Tesco Express store will be rebranded as a Tesco Metro and the entrances to both units will be replaced with one set of sliding doors, at the eastern end of the building.

DPP’s application, to be considered by Sheffield Council officers in the coming weeks, says: “Improving the physical quality of the site and building will help attract both customers and new investment into the local area.”

But a handful of residents are opposing the plans, arguing the extension will put further strain on small stores and increase congestion and traffic.

They have been backed by Central ward Coun Rob Murphy, who says he thinks the new planned entrance is badly sited, behind the West Street tram stop and next to two re-sited ATMs.

In a letter to council officers he said: “This part of the pavement contains a crossing point for West Street, including dropped kerbs for wheelchair users, pushchairs and the infirm.

These pavement users are likely to be badly affected by any congestion.”

One resident, who lives on Townhead Street in the city centre, said: “There are numerous other small late-night shops on West Street selling the same products, meaning residents and city centre people on a night out are well served.

“It is likely the increased footfall and car traffic to the proposed Tesco Metro will put more pressure on parking, levels of noise and litter on the already pressurised West Street area and so negatively affect long-term residents like myself.”

Luiz Montanheiro, senior business lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, also objected, questioning the 30 jobs Tesco claim they will create.

He said: “Job creation is totally overestimated as Tesco, rather than creating full-time and permanent jobs, rely on minimum wages by employment of temporary workers - mostly students.

“If Tesco is allowed to expand this will kill off small traders and create more of an uncompetitive area for students and academics to shop.

Mr Montanheiro added: “Please do not allow any more Tesco growth in our lovely and caring Sheffield city.”