Over the past decade, North Kesteven District Council has lead the project to put together a package of redevelopment for the southern part of Sleaford including plans for regeneration of the Bass Maltings into mixed retail, office and residential uses and the Advanta Seeds site which was set to become a new Tesco superstore, unlocking investment of £100 million and securing hundreds of jobs.
Now, under pressure from falling profits, Tesco has announced today (Thursday) they are to pull out of the project.
At this stage an NKDC spokesperson has said it is unclear whether the supermarket chain will be bound by its agreement to fund the Compulsory Purchase of land to make way for the proposed link road accessing both sites, stretching from Boston Road to Mareham Lane, via the recreation ground.
NKDC Leader, Coun Marion Brighton, said on the decision: “We are obviously very disappointed that Tesco has decided not to proceed with its approved plans for a new Sleaford store, along with a further 48 planned developments nationwide.
“In the six years since Tesco secured its initial planning consent to redevelop the Advanta Seeds site, we have continued to work closely with them as a key partner in broadening the scope for significant economic growth and regeneration for Sleaford.
“We had hoped that the store would have been up and running by now, with some hundreds of new jobs in place, delivering more far reaching economic regeneration and helping to secure the future viability of the historic Maltings.
“That is a source of great disappointment, but this council remains committed to jobs, investment and town centre growth. We will continue working with stakeholders for the town, including locally elected representatives, in order to explore the most appropriate way to bring forward new investment and redevelopment opportunities for Sleaford. Securing a solution for the Maltings is a particular concern for us, and one we are especially committed to achieving as soon as we are able.
“It remains our aim to see this large, central brownfield site developed for the benefit of the town and I am certain that those parties committed to jobs and investment in Sleaford will continue to engage in planning for a prosperous future.
“Reassured by Tesco’s pledge to work with us in finding the right solution for the community, we will of course keep (council) members, residents and businesses informed as the situation becomes clearer.”
In his statement, Dave Lewis, Tesco’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “It is with a heavy heart that I am today announcing that we are unable to proceed with 49 planned new store developments across the UK, including our planned store in Sleaford.
“Our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be and my absolute imperative has to be to protect the future of our business for around 300,000 colleagues we employ in communities all over the UK.
“I know that this news will be a real disappointment to many people in the local community and we’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received for our plans. I am very aware of the importance of the site to the area and I am determined that we will work closely with North Kesteven Council to find the right solution for the local community.”