BOOS filled the Erewash Borough Council chamber as councillors voted 11 to two in favour of a plan to build a Tesco supermarket in Sandiacre.
Most of the 21 speakers at the planning committee meeting – including Erewash MP Jessica Lee – spoke out against the plan to build a 24-hour, glass-fronted ‘eco-store’ off Station Road on the grounds that it would make traffic worse and impact badly on shops.
But councillors said that the provision of 200 jobs – which the Tesco has said will all be permanent – and more than £650,000 it will spend on roads, CCTV and ‘public art’ in the town, outweighed arguments against the canal-side development.
Under the proposals, an extra lane will be built in Station Road and the pavement narrowed.
In an unusual move for an MP, Miss Lee told the planning committee she was ‘troubled’ by the effect on traffic, and said that 90 per cent of letters she had received about the plan were against the move.
“Do you really think that the Tescos that have been built already in the borough have enhanced the town centres?” she asked members. Afterwards she said she was ‘disappointed’ by the decision.
Others spoke about their objections during the two-hour meeting last Wednesday including lifelong Sandiacre resident John Hickinbotham, who said the design of the glass-fronted store was ‘completely unsympathetic to the local environment’.
While chairman of Long Eaton Chamber of Trade Michael Lucking warned councillors not to seek ‘short term gains at the long term expense of Sandiacre’s future’.
One elderly resident, Dennis Shipley, spoke in favour of the store: “I struggle to get everyday items at reasonable price without having to travel out of the area to a Tesco store. A new supermarket would allow me and my neighbours to get out shopping done locally.”
Only councillors Jennifer Hulls and Daniel Walton voted against the proposal.
Cllr Hulls said: “Any extra traffic is not sustainable through Sandiacre.”
But referring to the £650,000 of section 106 money Tesco has agreed to give the council, Cllr Howard Griffiths said: “The investment this supermarket will bring I don’t think we’ll get anywhere else.”
Corporate affairs manager for Tesco Deborah Hayeems said after the meeting: “We are pleased that we got the go ahead for a store in Sandiacre that will help to keep people shopping in the area instead of having to travel further afield and will bring 200 new permanent jobs for local people.”
Work is due to start early next year.