Tesco cools speculation over Downham Road move

The Ely Outdoor Sports Association, in Downham Road. The Ely Outdoor Sports Association, in Downham Road.

Thursday, May 29, 2014
8:55 AM

Supermarket giant Tesco has moved to deny reports that it is in negotiations to open a new store on the Downham Road site, in Ely.

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Last month, the Cambridge Property Group, backed by Fenland entrepreneur Richard Sears, submitted preliminary plans for a vast new development – with a Tesco superstore at its heart – on sports fields located on Ely’s northern fringes.

The group insisted that Tesco was interested in being part of its rival development, which is also scheduled to include a restaurant, pub, petrol station and warehouses.

Last month, a spokesperson for Cambridge Property Group said: “With the superstore designed only to accommodate Tesco’s relocation from the station into larger premises, it will be able to provide that retailers’ full offer, but locally.”

The Downham Road site is currently occupied by a number of sports clubs, including Ely City FC and Ely Tigers Rugby Club who, as part of the deal, were promised new purpose-built premises elsewhere in the city.

But, this week, Tesco poured cold water on Cambridge Property Group’s claims by confirming to the Ely Standard that it was not interested in the site.

A spokesman said: “We do not have any plans for a store on the Downham Road site. We will keep the local community updated on the Octagon Park site.”

Late last year, East Cambridgeshire District Council approved plans put forward by Healy Investments to build a new retail park in Angel Drove, just a few hundred yards away from the current Tesco premises.

According to Healy, an agreement was in place with Tesco that would see it move into the new development, known as Octagon Park, and vacate its current premises, which would then form part of the district council’s ‘station gateway’ redevelopment.

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