No need for superstore retail expert tells probe

proposals for a Tesco 'Eco' store off Oxclose Park Road, Halfway.
proposals for a Tesco 'Eco' store off Oxclose Park Road, Halfway.
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A RETAIL expert told a planning inquiry he could ‘see no overriding need’ for a Tesco superstore in Sheffield as well as a new Asda.

Mark Finch, who has 20 years’ town planning experience, was a witness for Asda which is objecting to the Tesco at greenfield land off Ox Hill, Halfway.

Tesco is appealing Sheffield Council’s decision to reject its plans last March.

The council rejected the scheme saying the proposal involved land needed for housing.

Mr Finch was speaking as the first of three retail experts at a resumed public inquiry held at Sheffield Town Hall.

He referred to a council retail study in 2010 which showed there was some need for additional retail in the city.

But Mr Finch said the need would be met by the Asda proposed off Beighton Road East, near Crystal Peaks.

He said: “In simple terms the Asda would mop up the need that existed and more. I see no overriding need for an additional store to Asda.

“There are differences between the Asda and Tesco – but by and large they cater for a similar market.”

Mr Finch, a director for commercial property consultants Drivers Jonas Deloitte, also said the Tesco store would have an impact on struggling town centres nearby, like Killamarsh and Eckington, by taking trade away.

He added: “Given the health of the town centres such impacts would be significant.”

The inquiry, led by planning inspector Laura Graham, began in November and was adjourned until this week.

Lawyers for the council have argued that the Tesco site could make a ‘highly significant contribution’ towards the council’s housing supply in the next five years.

The store ‘would take away land for which other uses are required’, added Mr Finch.

Tesco has said its proposals would not significantly harm nearby shopping centres, would create 450 jobs as well as giving shoppers more choice.

The company also says the site is not needed for housing.

Retail experts Peter Gaits, witness for the council and Bob Robinson for Tesco are to speak at the inquiry in the next two days.

The inquiry is due to conclude on Friday.