Pressure forces Tesco to show Sherborne plans twice
PUBLIC pressure from Sherborne campaigners has caused retail giant Tesco to agree to a second public showing of store plans.
The company originally planned a public consultation on proposals to develop the Sherborne Hotel site at the West End Hall, Littlefield in February.
But protesters have prompted it to add an additional date in the town centre.
Peter Neal, chairman of the Sherborne and District Society (CPRE) and several others contacted Melanie Chiswell, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, to suggest an alternative venue.
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Mr Neal said: “The West End Hall is quite small with limited parking and it is on the edge of the town.
“In the past when major planning has been proposed, several hundreds of people have attended public consultations. I doubt the West End Hall would cope.”
Tesco signed an agreement with Torbeg Ltd, freeholders of the hotel, on the A30, last year and a proposing to submit a planning application in the spring.
The company has pledged to create 200 jobs, with priority interviews guaranteed for any hotel staff interested in work ing for Tesco.
Miss Chiswell said: “We chose the West End Hall because it was geographically the closest to the site. It is also in a residential area where a number of our potential customers might live.
“We have listened to feedback from members of the community and are planning an additional date the following week at a venue in the town centre, most probably the Digby Hall, Hound Street.”
Miss Chiswell said a meeting on Thursday, January 31 with interested parties will also be held.
The development site is opposite land at Barton Farm which received planning permission for more than 200 new homes in September.
The news sparked fierce opposition from Sherborne residents and independent business owners.
More than 5,000 people have signed online and paper petitions since the campaign group No Thanks Tesco launched.
On Tuesday retail guru Mary Portas tweeted praise for the group.
Sally-Ann Kodurand, chairman of Sherborne chamber, said organisations in the town, including No Thanks Tesco and the Sherborne and District Society of the CPRE, are preparing to meet on Monday to form a “united front” ahead of the meeting on January 31.
The consultation takes place on Friday, February 15, between 3pm and 7pm, and Saturday, February 16, between 10am and 3pm at the West End Hall, Littlefield.
An additional date and time is to be set for the following week in the town centre.