RETAIL giant Tesco isn’t going to close its store in Portsmouth city centre if its plans for another one nearby go ahead.
The firm has told council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson the Crasswell Street shop won’t be affected by what happens at land surrounding Fratton Park.
As previously reported in The News, a new supermarket, petrol station, car park and social area for supporters could be created near the stadium.
The proposals are being put together by Pompey, Stuart Robinson’s development company Point Estates and Tesco. Mr Robinson bought the land when Pompey Supporters’ Trust took over the club.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson asked Tesco what its intentions were because he was concerned what effect a closure would have on local shoppers.
‘This decision is so important for a lot of people who walk to do their shopping in the city centre,’ he said.
‘A lot of people don’t own cars.
‘It’s important to keep shops in areas in and around Commercial Road – so I asked the question and I was very pleased Tesco said yes, it was going to keep the store.
‘I was surprised to hear no-one had asked this question before.’
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said a similar agreement had been made before. ‘It’s exactly the same agreement that we had in the north of the city when Tesco bought North Harbour,’ he said.
‘We got an agreement out of the company that it would keep the Cosham store going because we want to protect high streets.
‘I think it will become a condition if they get planning permission at Fratton Park.’
A Tesco spokeswoman said: ‘We know that our store on Crasswell Street is popular with customers.
‘It will therefore continue to trade should our application for our new store at Portsmouth FC be approved.’
Mark Catlin, chief executive officer at Pompey, said: ‘I know that the council were keen to say that they didn’t want to see any more stores shutting.
‘It’s great news if Tesco have given that commitment.’