75 St Neots jobs on hold after Tesco expansion plan delayed

EXPANSION of Tesco s St Neots store in Barford Road, which could generate 75 additional jobs, has been put back by a year by a failure to reach agreement on access from the A428. The supermarket giant had planned to start work early this year to expand th

EXPANSION of Tesco's St Neots store in Barford Road, which could generate 75 additional jobs, has been put back by a year by a failure to reach agreement on access from the A428.

The supermarket giant had planned to start work early this year to expand the retail space by 1,800 square metres, add a pharmacy and move the petrol filling station on the site.

But delay in reaching agreement with Cambridgeshire County Council over access from the Barford Road roundabout, which was a pre-condition, meant the 23-week programme of building work would still have been in progress at Christmas and the New Year, disrupting the busiest and most lucrative period of the retail year.

So Tesco has decided to delay the work until 2010, which means the new jobs will also be a year late.

Spokesman Nick Gellatly told The Hunts Post: "It has always been our plan to begin work on extending our store in St Neots in the early part of this year so that work was complete in time for the busy Christmas period.

"Among the conditions associated with our planning consent was the requirement to conclude a Section 228 [of the Highways Act 1980] agreement concerning the local highways - in particular the A428.

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"Unfortunately, it has not been possible to complete this agreement at this stage and we may have been over-optimistic about the timescale associated with this process."

He added: "We do not wish to rush these discussions, but to give our engineers and the authorities sufficient time to finish their work we have taken the difficult decision to delay work on the store.

"While we expect these highways issues will be resolved shortly, it means that we would not be able to begin work until the latter part of the summer. This would result in the 23-week programme of works being incomplete over Christmas and the New Year."

Tesco did not want to cause disruption for customers during that time.

"We are sorry to disappoint our customers at Barford Road who have welcomed the news of our extension and can re-assure them that we'll deliver the larger and refreshed store, together with the wider product ranges, as soon as we can," he promised.

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