Lowestoft area set to get fourth Tesco store after Pakefield planning decision is quashed
Archant © 2012
The controversial decision over whether Tesco should set up a fourth store for the Lowestoft area swung firmly towards the supermarket chain tonight after councillors agreed to quash a move to halt the firm’s plans.
A full meeting of Waveney District Council agreed to quash an earlier ruling by its development control committee which said the proposed site for the Tesco Express, the Tramway Hotel in Pakefield, was of mixed use as a pub and hotel.
By quashing that status and confirming Tramway Hotel is only a pub, it means nothing can now stop Tesco moving into Victorian building as it does not need change of use planning permission due to the pub-only status.
The development control committee’s decision on April 2 was said to be unlawful and be open to a legal challenge by Tesco following legal advice published in a council monitoring officer report last week.
Tonight the ruling Conservative group voted in favour of quashing the motion so the council could not have been seen to have acted unlawfully, while the Labour opposition group argued that the people of Pakefield should come first.
Gareth Douce, Labour councillor for the Kirkley ward and who had introduced the mix of use motion, said: “I am concerned about representing the views and concerns of local communities.
“This is about being here for the local community.”
Peter Byatt, of the Pakefield ward, said the legal advice to quash the change of use motion ‘made a nonsense of what is right for the people’.
Martin Parsons, Conservative councillor for the Wrentham ward, said: “What I value most is the rule of law. The rule of law must be upheld.”
Stephen Ardley, deputy leader of Waveney and who represents Carlton ward, said if a challenge came from Tesco it could cost the council £500,000 - adding 10pc to household’s council tax bills.
He added councillors were only at tonight’s meeting to discuss the legal merits of the committee’s decision and not the issues surrounding Tesco’s plans for a store.
Tesco unveiled its plans 17 months ago, prompting fears in Pakefield that a new store would cause traffic problems and impact adversely on nearby shops.
If Tesco goes ahead with its move the company says it would create 20 jobs and benefit the area.