Tesco committed to creating new store at Pompey

PLANS An artist's impression of the proposed Tesco store at Fratton Park and (inset) an aerial view
PLANS An artist's impression of the proposed Tesco store at Fratton Park and (inset) an aerial view

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ASSURANCES have been made that Tesco will not be pulling out of building a new superstore at Fratton Park – despite the company’s recent problems.

Point Estates, which hopes to build the store behind the Fratton end at Pompey, says the retail giant is still committed to the plans.

Fears have been raised that the Tesco could pull out in light of the fiasco surrounding the company’s £250m overstatement of its profits for the six months up to August.

But Stuart Robinson, head of Point Estates, said any rumours suggesting the company was backing out are completely false.

‘Tesco is still committed,’ he said.

‘Portsmouth is a big city to be in and the company wants to be here.

‘Tesco has signed up to this scheme and it will happen.

‘We got the company to commit to it.’

As reported, building work on the superstore, which is expected to create 300 jobs and create an annual turnover of £55.71m, will begin on November 1.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles rubber-stamped the development last Friday after preliminary planning permission was granted by Portsmouth City Council.

Cllr Donna Jones, Tory leader of the council, admitted her Conservative colleagues on the committee were unsure of the application given the impact it could have on the traffic network and on local businesses.

But she said it was good the store would boost jobs and help the club and that Tesco ultimately was still committed.

‘Tesco is a big employer and it’s a good sign it is showing good commitment to Portsmouth city,’ Cllr Jones said.

‘The Conservatives in the planning committee didn’t support the application.

‘Having said that, it will lead to job creation and support the club.’

A Tesco spokesman said: ‘We’re pleased that permission has been granted and will keep the community updated on our plans.’

Adrian Bailey, chairman of the parliament’s Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, has said bosses could be grilled over the inflated figures, with any inquiry held likely to cover the wider grocery industry and its relationship with suppliers.

Former Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke quit his role in July after a fall in sales.