REACTION: Tesco pull out of Amble superstore plans

Artists impressions of plans by Northumberland Estates for a Tesco on The Braid, Amble..
Artists impressions of plans by Northumberland Estates for a Tesco on The Braid, Amble..

Community leaders have voiced their disappointment, but lack of surprise, at news that supermarket giant Tesco will no longer be building a new store in the town.

The company announced today that the planned superstore, north of Queen Street and adjacent to the Braid, is one of 49 that have been pulled alongside 43 unprofitable stores that are to be closed.

It comes as Tesco face financial difficulties across its business.

But the Amble site has been a hot topic of discussion since plans were given approval in May 2009.

Speaking after the news Amble town and county councillor Robert Arckless, said: “I am disappointed because I think there was potential to have an expanded provision of a supermarket in town which most Amble people and the town council have supported.

“However I think, although Amble has been through some very difficult times in the last three or four years, there are signs that things are getting better on the high street and I think the focus now has to be on supporting what is there now.

“I am not surprised at all because the amount of times we have been told by Tesco that they are committed to Amble, or that they were going to do this, that or the other and it hasn’t happened.

“We have been expecting this for a while now and I hope they maintain the existing Tesco store.

“I also hope that they do not sit on the site as a land bank. I think we will have to have a serious rethink about any development on that site in the future as there are strong views in the community about that space.”

Coun Arckless added that he was pleased Tesco had cleared the site in recent months.

A statement about the news on Amble Town Council’s website said: “It is very disappointing to receive correspondence this morning from Tesco’s corporate affairs manager for the north area informing us that they will no longer be able to proceed with the planned store in Amble.

“This comes about as a result of their critical review of all current and future investments following a fall in performance which had been publicised in the media today; Amble is one of 49 developments that will no longer take place.

“Tesco have stated they are aware of the importance of the site for the local community and whilst continuing to maintain the site they will work closely with Amble Town Council and Northumberland County Council to find the right solution for our community.

“Amble Town Council are aware that lack of employment is a major concern in the town and will continue to work strenuously to encourage all developments which offer employment opportunities.”

And Julia Aston, director of Amble Development Trust, said: “We are very disappointed but sadly we have all been feeling for quite a while now that it wasn’t going to happen.

“We are really disappointed because of the employment it was going to offer. In the town streets are managing quite well without it but Amble needs jobs and Tesco were going to bring them.”