Tesco pulls out of plan for shop on Portsmouth garage site

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PLANS to open a new convenience store on the site of a garage have been deferred as supermarket giant Tesco rethinks the scheme.

Tesco hoped to build an Express shop to replace Cumberland Garage, in Eastney Road, Eastney.

But the garage owner Roger Penney, who submitted the application, has withdrawn the plans to be resubmitted at a later date, after Portsmouth City Council’s planning officers advised the council’s planning committee to turn down the proposals.

The plans were set to be discussed tomorrow, and officers had said they should be refused because delivery vehicles to the shop would cause congestion on Eastney Road.

Eastney and Craneswater Lib Dem councillor Terry Hall had asked for the application to be viewed by the planning committee, because she feared the shop would cause problems for nearby stores, including a Co-op in Highland Road, another in Eastney Road, and a butchers’ shop, also in Eastney Road.

She was also concerned by parking issues, and the access of delivery vehicles.

She said: ‘I was unhappy about the idea of the vehicles parking on yellow lines, as there are two busy junctions, linking Southsea, Milton and Eastney, very nearby. I wasn’t convinced it was safe.

‘But it has been deferred, so I wonder if that’s because they’re going to look at what the officers objected to in the document, and change their plan.’

Twelve people objected to the store, which planning officers had hoped to limit to 915sq ft, and would have included a 10-space car park.

But 25 people wrote in support, in the hope it would cause greater price competition.

John Holland, of Marine Court, Southsea, said: ‘The only real concern from most people is that Tesco seems to be everywhere.

‘We need more independent shops in this area.’

The application was submitted because Mr Penney plans to retire after 27 years.

He said: ‘It’s a small site, and would take a lot to modernise.

‘So a shop like this seemed the best thing for the site.

‘Tesco’s was the best scheme, and lots have people have supported it.’

Tesco said it could not comment when contacted by The News.