AN APPEAL by supermarket giant Tesco to build a new store in Basingstoke has been dismissed.
The Government’s planning inspectorate refused to grant Tesco permission to build a new 63,000sq ft store on the former Smiths Industries site, on The Harrow Way, in Brighton Hill.
Campaigners who fought against the development have welcomed the decision.
In a statement, a Tesco spokesperson said the company was “naturally disappointed”.
The ruling follows a seven-day planning inquiry held in February. Tesco was seeking to overturn a decision to refuse planning permission made in July last year by borough planning chiefs.
In an 11-page summary, planning inspector Ken Barton said he refused the proposal because it would affect nearby shops and added that the Government’s new planning rules - The National Planning Policy Framework – justified the decision.
He said: “There would be a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the nearby Brighton Hill District Centre. In such a circumstance paragraph 27 of the Framework indicates that the proposal should be refused.”
At the inquiry, representatives from Brighton Hill’s Asda said a new Tesco “could well push the centre over the edge” and residents expressed fears that Brighton Hill would turn into a “ghost town” if shops were forced out of business by the superstore.
Brighton Hill North councillor Brian Gurden, who spoke against the development at the appeal, said the ruling was a “victory for common sense”.
“I am chuffed to bits that the weight of public opinion seems to have found a good enough reason in the planning rules (NPPF) to allow the inspector to turn it down.”
Brighton Hill South councillor Carolyn Wooldridge said she was “delighted” and praised the work of opposition group Tesco Action Group who helped lead the case against the retailer.
A vocal opponent to Tesco’s plans, Mark Buttress, who runs Jaybee’s convenience store in Kings Furlong, said the decision “has made his day”.
At the inquiry he said that if Tesco opened he would have been forced to lay-off staff and would have struggled to stay in business.
“I am shocked but delighted,” he said. “Hopefully this will be a boost for our local shops. It is definitely great news for the local economy.”
Following the ruling, published on April 3, Tesco said in a statement: “We are naturally disappointed at the inspector’s decision.
“We will take some time to read through and understand and take on board all the contents of the inspector’s report.”