TESCO’S controversial plans for an edge-of-town store in Hampshire have received a major boost.
A study commissioned by the council said the proposals to build a 35,000 sq ft store on the Broadlands Estate would have no significant impact on the town centre.
The report carried out by counsultants Nathaniel Litchfield and Partners (NLP) also concluded there was no preferable site closer to the town centre.
It states the main impact of Tesco would be felt by Waitrose, Aldi and Co-op stores, but there was no evidence to suggest any of these stores will close, due to healthy trading levels.
Overall, Tesco would have “a moderate adverse impact” on the town centre, it says, but this would be outweighed by an increase in competition, consumer choice, and a clawback of expenditure leakage to stores outside the town.
Tesco spokesman Simon Petar, said: “Our store will be a real shot in the arm to the local economy, creating hundreds of new jobs and bringing more business into the town centre.”
“We selected Bypass Road as the most appropriate location for the new store after carefully reviewing many other potential sites in and around the town centre, “After carrying out a similar independent exercise for the council, NLP has arrived at the same conclusion, that there is no better location.”
Meanwhile, council bosses have reported that the scheme in Romsey does not breach their planning policy, although they have still to examine design and highways issues.
Vice chairman of Romsey Exra Parish Council, Christopher Wesson criticised the proposed delivery hours of the store – from 5am on weekdays and 8am to 11pm on Sundays.
“The traffic noise pollution at those times will be a gross intrusion to anyone whose home is on the bypass or any other route to the proposed store,” he said.
“If the proposal does go ahead, I wonder how long it would be before Tesco apply for 24-hour opening.”
David Willox, joint president of Romsey Chamber of Commerce, said: “The report is actually a review of another report produced by planning consultants retained by Tesco.
“It is not a study of how one could best develop Romsey for the benefit of the community as a whole.”
TVBC have yet to give a date when the Tesco application, submitted in September, will come before the planning committee.
One of the hold-ups is believed to be in the highways report, which is looking at an alternative town centre traffic survey conducted by Romsey and District Society, which had disputed the figures supplied by Tesco.