PLANS for a massive new supermarket in Washington have been slashed by almost half, ahead of a Whitehall ruling on the scheme.
The Echo revealed on Monday that Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles was set to decide on plans for a 100,000 sq ft Tesco Extra store at the Peel Industrial Estate.
A report prepared for Sunderland City Council’s planning and highways committee had recommended councillors reject the scheme.
Developer, Peel Holdings, had appealed for “non-determination,” stripping the council of the power to decide the matter, and leading the Secretary of State to call in the plan to be heard at a public inquiry in June – which could have left city taxpayers with a big legal bill.
Now, however, the firm has cut the size of the project by 40 per cent to 60,000 sq ft, and dropped its appeal over the proposed rejection of the larger plan.
Peel’s senior development surveyor for the site, Roger Wheeldon, said: “While it is disappointing that we will no longer be delivering a Tesco Extra store to Washington, the revised smaller store will still deliver significant benefits and be a fantastic new addition to the choice available in the Washington area.
“With Asda and Sainsbury’s already represented, and a new Morrisons recently granted at nearby Birtley, Tesco is the only one of the big four grocery stores without a presence in the Washington area.
“Our plans seek to ensure a full choice of the main branded supermarkets is available to local residents.
“Encouraging healthy competition between the big four will provide a better deal for Washington shoppers.
“The smaller store will still achieve many of the benefits we were seeking to deliver, including massive investment in the complete redevelopment of the site, huge numbers of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent employment opportunities when the new store opens.”
The new plan will need to be approved by the council. The original sparked claims it would have a negative impact on the nearby Galleries shopping centre. Centre owner Prupim said it was assessing the latest development and considering its response.