Bath Tesco plans recommended for refusal once again
Council officers are once again recommending that plans to build a new Tesco supermarket at the former Bath Press site are turned down.
An application for the single-storey shop with a 395-space car park below it, as well as housing and offices, was due to be heard at a Bath and North East Somerset Council development control committee (DCC) meeting back in December.
But it was withdrawn at the last minute after Homebase submitted a letter saying it had no plans to leave its Pines Way site to make way for a new £160 million Sainsbury’s development.
The two supermarket giants are going head-to-head to get planning permission, with a policy called “sequential testing” meaning that sites closest to the city centre should be prioritised for redevelopment.
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However, officers are still recommending that Tesco should be refused, saying there is no rush for a new supermarket and the city could wait until the Pines Way site was freed up for Sainsbury’s, possibly when the Homebase lease runs out in 2020.
A report, which is due before the DCC next Wednesday afternoon, said: “It is considered that there is no immediate pressure to choose a site, such as the former Bath Press site, for supermarket development in circumstances where it may take longer than the immediate short term to make a sequentially preferable site available for development and where there is no immediate need for a new supermarket development.”
It added: “Whilst the desire of Homebase to continue to occupy a successful trading location in Bath has been taken into account in this assessment it is not considered to be the case that the potential lack of availability of the existing Homebase site in the short term should lead the local planning authority to a conclusion that the Western Riverside East area will not be available within a reasonable amount of time given the local circumstances in this instance.
“Consequently it is considered that the Western Riverside East site should be regarded as a suitable, available and viable alternative location to the application site.”
A spokeswoman for Tesco said: "This area of Bath needs investment and regeneration now. We can deliver a new creative hub and supermarket that will generate more than 600 jobs. Beyond the site, we will bring forward thousands of new homes on the riverside corridor.
“The economic and social benefits of our plans are clear. We hope the city’s councillors vote to support growth now, rather than waiting until 2020 for a scheme that may never happen.”