Tesco voices its objection to rival Sainsbury's bid for a new Hook store

A SUPERMARKET giant has voiced its opposition to a plan by a rival chain to build a new store in Hook.

Sainsbury’s wants to build a 30,000sq ft store on land off Reading Road as part of a site to the north east of the village earmarked for hundreds of new homes.

But Tesco, which has a 14,000sq ft supermarket in Station Road, said the plan would affect trade in the village centre, and take trade away from its store.

In a letter written to Hart District Council, the supermarket giant said: “A 30,000sq ft Sainsbury’s store in an out-of-centre site off the A30 may well address expenditure leakage from Hook but will do little to support the vitality and viability of Hook Village Centre, which provides a small range of retail and other commercial and community uses.

“The proposed store is of a scale not commensurate with Hook as either as existing or planned to grow.”

The letter added that Tesco is currently planning to replace or extend its existing store, which it says has good pedestrian links with the railway station and the village centre.

Hook Parish Council has also objected to the plans, giving 10 reasons why it should be rejected by Hart District Council.

It said that as the district council’s draft local plan, the blueprint for building homes in Hart up to 2029, was dismissed by a planning inspector, the application was premature.

Other reasons for objection included added traffic, inadequate pedestrian access and an “uninspired” building design which the parish council said looks like “a dull retail shed not suitable in this location having regard to the nearby listed buildings”.

The application has also received scores of supportive comments from residents, who say the store will help provide jobs and greater choice.

Members of the planning committee at Hart were due to look at the application last night, but the item was not included on its agenda when The Gazette went to press.

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