Tesco is ‘holding us to ransom’ over store bid

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Supermarket giant Tesco has been accused of holding villagers at ransom over plans to build a store in Bovingdon.

The row over the Express shop and flats has re-ignited after Tesco applied for an extension on its planning permission after failing to build within the allowed three years.

Supermarket bosses were given the go ahead to develop the former car showroom at the junction of High Street and Chesham Road by the planning inspectorate at appeal after it was initially refused by borough bosses. At the time the proposal sparked the highest number of objections Dacorum Borough Council had ever seen.

Around 30 people turned out for Bovingdon Parish Council’s planning committee meeting to have their say on the bid for a time extension. The current planning permission expires in January.

One householder said: “They can afford to do it if they want to. It looks like they don’t really want to. They just want to tie us up in knots because we upset them.”

Another added: “They want to hold us at ransom.”

Councillors and villagers exchanged ideas on ways to force Tesco to submit a new full planning application, including claims that changes have already been made to the original granted plan. If this was to happen planning guidelines to protect traders from major supermarket chains – introduced under the Competition Commission but too late to affect the Tesco plan, which was given the green light in 2010 – could come into play.

Committee chairman Councillor Richard Briden said: “I think we have got to work very hard to get this proposal rejected.

“The problem is: Will Dacorum have the stomach to reject it again.”

The councillors agreed to opposed the latest application but the final decision will be made at borough level.

Mr Briden urged householders to write with their objections to the borough council. “The more weight we get behind our argument the better,” he said.