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Southam Superstore Is Vetoed

Supermarket giant Tesco has been told it cannot build a proposed new superstore on the outskirts of Southam.

The issue has been running for some time in the town with local traders objecting to the plans, and was the subject of a public enquiry in January.

At that enquiry it was decided that the matter should be referred to the Secretary of State, and Warwickshire County Council’s development liaison officer Jasbir Kaur said his decision was clear.

"The Secretary of State looked at the matter and decided that the Tesco store should not go ahead for a few different reasons.

"Before this issue got to this stage everybody had been invited to make themselves heard, and there was a lot of strong feeling on both sides.

"People who ran smaller stores in the town were very anxious that the out-of-town development should not happen because it could damage trade, but alternatively local people who had to travel to Leamington or Banbury to get to a superstore were in favour."

Tesco was looking to build just off the Southam bypass and Kaur believes it was this out-of-town location that swung the decision.

She said:

"Having the store on the outskirts would have encouraged people to travel by car instead of walking and government policy is clearly against this.

"The Secretary of State also highlighted the fact that there are alternative sites in the centre of Southam where such a development could be located, and felt these should be looked at first."

The news comes as a blow to some people in Southam who feel it currently has limited facilities, including Joyce Weaver who works in the town.

She said:

"When we heard about the store everybody at our office was pleased because at the moment there are a lot of things that you cannot get in Southam and that can be really frustrating.

"Southam has become increasingly busy during the day but the town is not reflecting that in its facilities."

Tesco first unveiled their plans for the superstore in 1996. They are now considering their next moves and will decide in the coming weeks whether to mount a legal challenge.

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CWN / Business / 1 Jun 99

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