Scary Supermarkets

Tesco town planned next to 2012 site

Tesco is building a new “supermarket suburb” next to the Olympics site which will house hundreds of families and come with its own high street, park, library and primary school.

The 11-acre site will have a 24-hour Tesco Extra hypermarket at the centre, with 18 other stores that will make up a pedestrian high street.

There will also be a 90-bed budget hotel on the site, and Tesco will build a library, called Idea Store, for the community. It will create a local park on the bank of the river Lea, and a plaza area for residents.

Tesco will also part-build 460 homes in the area by securing “costly” planning permission for them. Social housing bodies are expected to build the homes, but Tesco may retain the freehold.

The retailer will also buy land and get planning permission for a primary school for hundreds of pupils. The school, next to its store, will be built and run by Tower Hamlets council. But, again, Tesco may retain freehold of the land.

The news comes after its chief executive Terry Leahy described Britain’s school system as “woeful”. A spokesman said the new project in the Bromley-by-Bow area will produce at least 200 additional jobs in the hypermarket alone.

“The design of the store, community benefits and the phasing of the development have been designed to meet local needs,” he added

Tesco, which would not reveal the cost of the scheme, held a two-day public consultation with residents last month, which it said was “positive”. It is likely to submit formal planning applications to London Thames Gateway Development Corporation by the end of this month.

Tim Archer, a Tory councillor and parliamentary candidate for Limehouse and Poplar, said: “There are a number of benefits.” But he added: “Tesco dominates Tower Hamlets, in that there are already 10 stores built in the last two or three years.”

Source: This Is London, 14 October 2009

Tom Sullivan