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'Build your store - or get out': Dartford council gives Tesco ultimatum in long-awaited Lowfield Street development

Dartford's Lowfield Street

Lowfield Street in Dartford is awaiting development

Supermarket giant Tesco is racing to submit revised plans for the long-delayed Lowfield Street development in Dartford after a final warning from the council.

The company was summoned to a crisis meeting in the town just before Christmas and told: "Get building - or get out."

The warning was delivered by an exasperated Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con), leader of Dartford council. He was backed by the opposition group leader, Cllr Geoff Prout (Lab).

News of the pressure being placed on Tesco was revealed today.

It follows nearly 10 years of on-off promises about developing a mixed scheme of shops, homes and a store next to Central Park.

Plans have already been approved, but Tesco is no longer happy with that scheme.What the finished Lowfield Street development could look like.

Tesco is no longer happy with plans for Lowfield Street, shown in this artist's impression from 2008

It follows changes in the way people buy goods - relying increasingly on the internet to place their orders. House building is also proving less attractive.

They were given until the Tesco board meeting on February 8 to come up with a development programme for the site.

Cllr Kite said: "They had a very clear ultimatum. Get on with the job or we’ll hand it to someone else."

The revised plans are now expected in mid-April, with a quick start on construction.

The development is expected to include seven or eight retail outlets in addition to Tesco’s store and 99 homes.

Tesco is yet to comment.

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