Tesco denies abandoning extension plans
PUBLISHED: 08:57 06 June 2012
Supermarket giant says a major expansion of its Axminster store still remains its “intention”.
Tesco has denied abandoning plans to almost double the size of its Axminster store.
Company officials assured the Midweek Herald this week that a major expansion of the West Street supermarket still remains their “intention”.
But senior sources within the company are said to have told town councillors the scheme has been shelved for the foreseeable future.
A major refit of the existing store, currently under way, is the best the town can expect in the short term, they are understood to have revealed. Former mayor Mervyn Symes said that was certainly the impression he had been given.
“It’s not going to happen,” he said. “Obviously the economic climate has changed and the opening of the Seaton Tesco has, sadly, had a dramatic impact on the planned expansion of Axminster.
“In fact, it seems like they are downgrading Axminster because some of the products we used to find there you can now only get at Seaton.”
Tesco won planning consent last year to expand the Axminster supermarket which would involve demolishing two houses, building a second storey to the car park and a bridge, linking the supermarket with the town centre.
The enlarged store would provide some 40 extra jobs and, as a condition of its planning consent, Tesco was required to provide a £60,000 donation towards a new town bus service.
Tesco chiefs insist they still want to go ahead with the scheme and that the current refit is simply part of a nationwide upgrading of its stores.
They say it has nothing to do with the recent opening of the much-larger new store at Seaton.
A spokesman said: “The refit is designed to improve the car park and store for our customers as well as introduce new products and upgrade the petrol station.
“It is still our intention to expand the store in the future.”
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