When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Asda 'pulls out' as Tesco grows
A SUPERMARKET has pulled out of talks over a derelict site in Bicester after Tesco’s expansion plans were revealed, it has emerged.
Asda has confirmed it had looked “quite seriously” at opening a store in Bicester but the expansion of Tesco “put paid” to its plans.
The move comes after John Harvey, who owns the freehold of the former Lear Corporation factory, in Bessemer Close, off Launton Road, objected to plans to double the size of Tesco and relocate it from Pingle Drive.
Earlier this month co-ordinated planning applications by Tesco and Bicester Village, to expand the outlet, move Tesco opposite its site, and carry out £11m of road improvements were approved by Cherwell District Council.
The move angered supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, which is the anchor store in Bicester’s £70m town centre redevelopment. Work at the site, which includes shops, restaurants, a cinema and 500-space carpark, is underway and it is expected to open this summer.
In a letter to the council, Mr Harvey said: “I am writing to let you know how the above application has effected not only my site but potentially other redevelopment sites in the town.
“We have been in discussions with two food retail companies who are currently not present in Bicester about developing my site – Asda and Waitrose. Both companies believe that there is available capacity for another player in the local food market based on the current available food retail capacity and the population figures for the area.
“We even got to the stage with one of the companies of getting board approval to make a planning application.
“However, while our scheme was being finalised the Tesco plans were announced and both companies said that they were not prepared to invest in a town or at any location which had a Tesco that was so large that it would dominate the town.”
Asda’s spokesman said: “We have been interested in the area of Bicester. We haven’t ever got to the concrete plans stage where had to put some plans forward. The alternative at the outlet centre put paid to those plans.”