Ottery Tesco plan on hold

TESCO S plans for an Ottery store have been put on hold until at least the end if the summer.

TESCO'S plans for an Ottery store have been put on hold until at least the end if the summer.

The supermarket giant confirmed to the Herald on Wednesday that its bid to transform part of the town's vacant factory site has taken a back-seat to a proposed project in Seaton.

Rival Sainsbury's this week said it hoped its plans for a Hind Street store will be revealed "shortly" and, if successful, would be on target for a 2011 opening.

Tesco representatives said in December last year that its proposal to open a 10,000sq ft 'eco-convenience store' by 2010 would be submitted to East Devon District Council within months. In April, the Herald was told the proposals were "pretty much ready to go."

A Tesco spokeswoman insisted the firm was "still committed" to its vision for Ottery, and denied the current economic climate was responsible for the delay.

She said: "It is still going ahead, just not at the moment. We are focussed on our Seaton application and expect a planning application will go in for Ottery in the late summer.

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"Everything is completely fine, it is nothing sinister. Ottery is a completely new size and type of store- there are internal talks still being held on how it will work. We are looking at technical details and almost ready to go.

"Churchill Property (which owns the remainder of the factory site and plans to use it for a residential development) will submit the application. You would have to ask them about the initial delay.

"You only need to look at our recent profits to show we are not suffering, we are just concentrating our efforts on what is a huge re-generation project in Seaton."

Tesco forked out �2.8 million for its part of the factory site in February 2008. Nobody from Churchill Properties was available for comment.

Sainsbury's hopes to turn Hind Street land into a 20,000 sq ft store. A spokesman said yesterday: "This commitment has not been affected by the current economic climate and we continue to work with statutory bodies to ensure our plan meets the needs of Ottery. We hope to complete this process and submit a planning application shortly. If approved, the store remains on target to open in early 2011.