A TESCO store is set to rise from the ashes of an arson which caused £1m worth of damage.
The Tesco Express convenience store, in Grassmere Way, Cowplain, was set on fire by 19-year-old Daniel Eastley in July last year.
The teenager set fire to the bread bin stores at the back of the shop and the blaze quickly took hold, catching the overhanging eaves and ripping through the building. Eastley is now serving a 16-month sentence after admitting arson.
At a Havant Borough Council planning meeting last night councillors were asked to approve plans for an almost identical store.
There will no longer be overhanging eaves, all previous external store areas will now be inside and there will be more windows and less hedging so it is more open to try and stop anti-social behaviour.
Councillor David Keast, whose ward the store is in, blasted Tesco for ignoring his warnings that the back of the store was being used as a den by teenagers and was a fire hazard.
He also said that previously food was often left out overnight and had at one time caused a rat problem. But he was most angry that Tesco had not listened to him about changing the way deliveries are made.
He said: ‘I fear there will be a serious accident or even a fatality here. Lorries reverse across the front of the store and it is extremely dangerous.
‘To try and stop that dragon’s teeth wooden posts were put on the verge but they simply demolished them. I’ve seen arguments between drivers and delivery drivers and I asked Tesco, Havant Borough Council and the Highways Authority to get together to thrash something out about this now while we had the chance but nothing has been done.’
Planning officer, Steve Weaver, agreed to make it a condition that dragon’s teeth are put in but said it was not within the council’s remit to change the policy on deliveries.
Councillor Elaine Shimbart, said it was important to get the store up and running again. ‘I’ve never been aware of any major highway problems,’ she said.
‘The sooner this store is rebuilt, the better, because there is nothing within walking distance.
‘Elderly residents need somewhere to shop and they have a long way to go at the moment.’
The six councillors agreed unanimously to give the plans the go-ahead.