Tesco scheme may be put on the shelf

A COUNCIL verdict on a controversial scheme to extend the Tesco superstore off Abbeydale Road is likely be shelved until the summer.

The key issues for the authority are the effects on traffic and air pollution – just as in Sainsbury’s application for a bigger store at the other side of the railway tracks, off Archer Road.

The Sainsbury’s project is to be scrutinised at a public inquiry on June 14 after planning permission was refused.

Now the city council is not expected to reach a conclusion until the issues are debated at the Sainsbury’s inquiry.

Councillors were due to discuss the Tesco situation on Monday but an officers’ report has been withdrawn to allow more work to done on the implications of the application to extend the store at ground level, to create a mezzanine level and add 190 parking spaces.

However, the report indicated the scale of opposition.

Protest petitions have attracted nearly 450 names, 200 letters have been submitted and objections have been lodged by the Carterknowle and Millhouses Action Group, the Friends of Millhouses Park, Hallam MP Nick Clegg on behalf of constituents and local councillors Sylvia Dunkley and Mike Reynolds.

Developers Hammerson, who are steering the £600m Sevenstone retail quarter, are concerned that the range of goods that would be sold at a bigger Tesco could compete with the city centre, while Dr Jeremy Wight, Sheffield’s Director of Public Health, objects on the grounds of the impact on air quality.

At the same time, there is some support for the proposed extensions. A total of 369 letters are on the table, many welcoming the prospect of a better choice for shoppers, a more attractive store, more jobs and the bigger park and ride that Tesco says it would create.

Critics fear the scheme would increase traffic and air pollution and hit business in established shopping centres such as Woodseats, Heeley, London Road, Abbeydale Road, Ecclesall Road and Banner Cross.

However, council planners have initially concluded that the impact on district shopping centres, as well as the city centre, is within acceptable limits.

They also said a bigger Tesco would acccommodate a predicted increase in consumer spending over the next three years.

Traffic and pollution have emerged as the sticking points.

Although the supermarket giant is offering to pay for improvements to signalling at Abbeydale Road South/Abbeydale Road/Archer Road/Springfield Road, it would only cover 50% of the costs and there is no other guaranteed source of funding.

Almost identical issues were raised as a result of the Sainsbury’s application, said the council report.

lPlanning application: 10/00539/FUL.