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Desborough feels the pinch as Tesco abandons plans for a new store there

The former Lawrence Factory site in Harborough Road, Desborough, which was earmarked as the site for a new Tesco back in January 2012.

The former Lawrence Factory site in Harborough Road, Desborough, which was earmarked as the site for a new Tesco back in January 2012.

The knock-on effect of the out-of-town Tesco store being given planning permission in Harborough is already being felt – with breaking news this afternoon confirming that the retail giant will not be pursuing its plans for a new Desborough store.

The supermarket giant released a statement at 2.10pm today (Monday) saying it is axing its plans to build a supermarket at the former Lawrence Factory site in Desborough - just five weeks after saying it was still working with Kettering Borough Council to go-ahead with the scheme.

Tesco was granted planning permission for a 24,000sq ft store in Desborough on January 25, 2012. The borough council voted to approve the store while throwing out a rival application from Sainsbury’s for its plan to build a store at Magnetic Park on land north of Desborough.

However, in today’s statement, the firm said it would not be ‘progressing’ its plans.

The full statement from Tesco stated: “After careful consideration, we have decided not to progress plans for a new store in Desborough.

“We understand many people may be disappointed by this decision and would like to thank all those who have voiced their support.

“As we announced earlier this year we are building fewer large stores.

“Customers are increasingly shopping online and in convenience stores and we have reconsidered our proposal in the light of these changing habits.

“We continue to serve our customers from our stores in the area and look forward to continuing to welcome customers through our doors at our popular existing stores in Kettering and Corby.”

No mention was made in the statement of the recent planning consent Tesco won for the new store a few miles away in Rockingham Road, Harborough, at the former Focus DIY site.

The Mail contacted Tesco in late May about its plans for Desborough, and received a one-line response which read: “We’re continuing to work with Kettering Council and will keep the local community updated.”

As the Mail reported on May 29, Tesco had just seven months to start building work in Desborough due to the three-year time limit outlined in planning regulations.

Several people have made comments on social media website Twitter in recent months to express doubts over Tesco’s commitment to the Desborough plan.

Story by Alex Blackwell.

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