Tesco fights back after superstore plan vetoed

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A TESCO superstore rejected by planners would ‘not significantly harm’ a nearby shopping centre, a public inquiry has heard.

Tesco is appealing against Sheffield Council’s decision to turn down its proposals for a branch on greenfield land near Ox Hill, Halfway.

It involved land required for housing, the council said.

Concerns that another supermarket would take trade away from Crystal Peaks and shopping centres like Killamarsh and Eckington have also been raised.

Planning inspector Laura Graham opened the inquiry at Sheffield Town Hall yesterday. Barrister Rupert Warren, representing Tesco, said the store ‘would not significantly harm’ Crystal Peaks even with a new Asda at Waterthorpe Greenway.

He said it would provide residents with a powerful combination of national retailers.

He said: “Tesco would create a substantial amount of jobs, 450 in total and represent a very significant economic input to the area in line with the Government’s priority for growth.”

He said the store would give shoppers more choice, relieving pressure on an ‘over-traded’ Morrison’s. He argued it would allow public transport and environmental improvements and said the site was not needed for housing.

But Barrister Jonathan Easton, for the city council, said: “The appeal site could make a highly significant contribution towards the council’s housing supply in the next five years. One should not cast away an attractive location that is sorely needed for family housing.”

The council said another reason for rejecting the original plan in March was because the store would undermine a council objective of maintaining a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

Mr Easton said putting about 120 family homes on the site, rather than apartments, would balance the high proportion of flats in the city.

Council witness, planning officer Simon Vincent, said: “The appeal site would be ideally suited to this type of housing.”

Barrister Jeremy Pike, for Asda, said the site was not suitable for retail was needed for housing and repeated concerns about impact on shopping.

The inquiry will continue tomorrow and Friday and will restart in January.