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Councillors vote against Tesco supermarket proposal for Looe

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 08, 2013

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Proposals by Tesco to build a new store on the edge of a Cornish town were yesterday 'kicked into the long grass' after councillors voted to reject the scheme.

Cornwall councillors voted overwhelmingly to reject the scheme by the retail giant to build a supermarket on council-owed land at Looe.

Tesco chiefs have yet to decide whether or not to appeal the decision.

The vote at County Hall, Truro, was lost by 16 votes against the bid with one abstention, during a strategic planning committee meeting.

It would have been the town's first large supermarket.

Blueprints included a 25,000sq ft store with 250 car parking spaces and a petrol station on land on Barbican Road, opposite Looe Community Academy lying to the east of the town.

Some 36 affordable homes were also part of the designs.

The bid had garnered support from some local residents, keen to see 180 jobs coming to the area coupled with cheaper supermarket prices – those in the against camp feared footfall would be taken from town centre shops.

In the meantime the Morrisons chain has got its eye on land at Polean in West Looe to build a store – a report is due before Cornwall Council cabinet on February 13.

Protesters against the Tesco bid were celebrating.

Looe town councillor Brian Galipeau had campaigned vigorously against Tesco building on a greenfield site.

He said: "This was the right decision.

"The good thing about the whole public debate has been that it has built up a very strong consensus in town that we do need a supermarket, but it must support the town centre – which an out-of-town site can never do.

"Even many of those who more than a decade ago opposed a Tesco in Polean have come to see the benefits, and are listening to what most local people want.

"We do need to see affordable housing coming out of any alternative scheme though." Katrina Ring has owned land adjacent to proposed Tesco site for around 20 years and was against the development.

She said: "I'm over the moon the councillors saw sense in rejecting these proposals.

"We've been fighting Tesco for years over this.

"There's an issue of child safety here because the extra traffic a store would attract would make the road too dangerous."

A spokesman for Tesco said the company was "very disappointed" and warned the town could be left without a supermarket at all.

He said: "We have had overwhelming support for the store in Looe.

"No other firm proposals from any other supermarket have been submitted that offer 36 affordable homes, a new skate park and other community benefits. There is a real risk the residents of Looe will be left with nothing.

"We visited households on Sunrising Estate in the town and were met with overwhelming support for the store from young families in particular who cannot afford to buy nappies and food in the town centre.

"No decisions have been taken to appeal the council's decision."

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  • josdave  |  February 08 2013, 11:42AM

    Hooray a large town in Cornwall without a large supermarket. That should draw the visitors. There are far too many supermarkets in the country and they excercise a stranglehold on the retail trade which is too strong.

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