Is this the final act in developers' battle to build new Tesco superstore?
PUBLISHED: 08:24 26 June 2014 | UPDATED: 08:24 26 June 2014
A decisive blow looks to have been struck in the battle between two developers to build a new Tesco-led retail and leisure park in Ely.
Healy Investments announced on Wednesday that the ink was all but dry on an agreement with East Cambridgeshire District Council that would see the public purse boosted by more than £2million.
All that remains is for councillors to ratify the sum at a meeting of the planning committee, next Thursday, and the building work would can begin - though the plans could still be ‘called in’ by the Government.
Back in November, Healy was granted planning permission, in principle, to build a new Tesco superstore in Angel Drove, a few hundreds yards along the A142 from its current site.
The scheme will also include a hotel, a restaurant overlooking a water feature, a petrol station, seven retail units including a DIY store, and an office.
However, while Healy was negotiating community infrastructure payments to the district council, Fenland developer Richard Sears and his Cambridge Property Group made a surprise rival bid to build a Tesco in Downham Road, on land currently occupied by the Ely Outdoor Sports Association.
Tesco denied interest in the site but Cambridge Property Group remained adamant that it would forge ahead with its plans for Hereward Park, as a direct rival to the Octagon Park development.
A spokesperson said: “Tesco entered into a contract to occupy a replacement store at Octagon Park before our proposals were known to them.
“Whilst there remains a prospect of planning permission being granted for that scheme, Tesco are required to act positively in respect of it, however ill advised. Once that prospect is removed, Tesco have the ability to speak freely.”
But, despite Cambridge Propety Group’s plans, Healy remains confident it will get the all-clear it needs to begin work next Thursday.
Matthew Chandler, of Healy Investments, said: “I can’t really comment on this other application on Downham Road.
“I don’t think the site has been allocated for retail and Tesco have made it clear that they aren’t interested in it. It seems like a non-starter to me.
“We have worked closely with East Cambs District Council to ensure that this scheme works for the city and facilitates delivery of the Station Gateway so we are hopeful that we can make this happen.”