Residents examining plans for the new Tesco store proposed for Swaffham last year. Picture Matthew Usher.

Co-op backs down on legal challenge to Swaffham Tesco decision

Monday, January 7, 2013
9.29 AM

The Co-op has backed down on its threat to mount a High Court challenge to Breckland Council’s decision to give Tesco planning permission for a new store in Swaffham.

Breckland councillors approved the plans by eight votes to three in July.

The Co-op, which runs the Rainbow Foodstore in the town centre, said last April it would launch a judicial review if councillors approved the application, arguing tests for other suitable sites and the impact of the store were “so clearly deficient as to make such a decision perverse”.

However, the store has now announced it will not try to reverse the decision in the courts.

Anglia Co-operative deputy chief executive Andy Simpson said: “We have taken advice and won’t be challenging the decision on the basis that we have invested very heavily in our Swaffham unit in London Street to help generate increased trading in the town centre.”

Stewart Bell, a local businessman and town councillor who opposed Tesco’s application, said: “I did not think we needed a Tesco store at all and I did speak against it and as a local business I don’t think it would benefit the town in any way, shape or form, so I’m disappointed the Co-op has not followed through.

“It’s a scary time for small businesses at the moment and anything, whether it’s a Tesco or a duplicate store, will have a big effect.”

See today’s EDP for more.