Work on a major supermarket in a seaside town is to be delayed yet again, because of an 11th-hour decision to change the plans.
Tesco was aiming to start development on Amble’s eco-store in the spring, with the intention of opening before Christmas.
But now the company has said that it wants to change the shop’s layout, which would require consultation and planning approval before work can begin.
And the Gazette understands that the delay will take the opening date past this year’s festive season.
Despite the delay, Tesco has said that it remains ‘fully committed’ to opening a new store in the town, which is due to be sited on land north of Queen Street and adjacent to the Braid and bring with it 150 much-needed jobs.
A company spokesman said: “We were due to start shortly on the construction of the new store, however, following feedback we have had and a further review of the current scheme, we feel that a better layout could be achieved.
“This would potentially involve moving the store on the site.
“A change of this nature will require further planning approvals and we are working up the plans with a view to consulting with local stakeholders and residents in the near future.
“This work will mean a delay in the programme and while I know this will be disappointing, the view of the business is to get a layout that works for us and integrates better with the town centre.”
The delay is the latest chapter in the Amble Tesco saga.
At the beginning of 2012 – with work expected to start later that year – the future of the scheme was placed in doubt after it was put under review.
It followed the company’s bleak festive trading period in 2011.
Then the supermarket giant announced that the store would still go ahead but construction would no longer start in 2012.
Instead, work was expected to begin in spring 2013.
But now the tale has again yet another twist.
And it has caused further frustration in the town.
Mayor of Amble Ian Hinson said that the delay may provide an opportunity to iron out a few issues but admitted it was a blow for the town.
He said: “I am bitterly disappointed and I am quite sure that I am not alone in feeling this way. It is depressing actually.”
Colin Harris, chairman of Amble Business Club, said that the latest announcement has caused more uncertainty, which is a ‘problem for local businesses and anyone planning on investing in the town’s future’.
He said that the other issue was the impact on employment and he felt sorry for everyone who was looking forward to applying for a job there.