Tesco pull out of Strood hub deal
The Tesco store in Cuxton
Supermarket giant Tesco has pulled
out of a huge deal to build a flagship community hub in Strood town
That is according to council
bosses, who have had to pledge £300,000 to restart the project
despite making cuts elsewhere.
Thought to be worth about £1
million, the centre in Commercial Road would have replaced Strood’s
Bryant Road library.
It was tied up in Tesco’s plan to
treble the size of its Cuxton Road store and modernise a large part
of Strood town centre.
But the store’s expansion is in
doubt after a national announcement last year which said Tesco
would focus on smaller Express stores. It is still on the cards,
but likely to be redesigned and the company could have to submit
its planning application all over again.
Plans were already approved to
include the community hub and a temporary supermarket in the civic
centre car park, near Rochester Bridge.
Speaking after last week’s budget
meeting, Medway Council’s chief finance officer Mick Hayward said:
“They said they are evaluating their business options, but it’s
unlikely that they will put a £1m community hub back on the
There will be a hub eventually, he
said, but: “I don’t think it’s going to do the same thing that the
£1m Tesco development would have done.”
Cabinet member for finance Cllr
Alan Jarrett (Con) added: “It’s not going to happen. That was going
to be a new build and we can’t afford a new build and even if we
could we don’t have a site for it so what we’re doing is looking
for alternative premises.
“What we’ve done tonight is say we
don’t know where we are going for the future, but let’s allocate
£300,000 and see how we get on.”
He denied the relationship with
Tesco had soured, saying: “They’ve got stores in Medway, they’re a
major provider in Medway.”
Strood South councillor Isaac Igwe
(Lab) said: “The council aren’t actively negotiating things for the
community. I’m very sceptical about it because I wonder what
£300,000 is going to do. I want to see a plan of what the council
wants to do and what the actual cost is.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are
reviewing our plans for Strood to ensure we deliver the right store
for the local community.
"It is too early in the process to
speculate on what this may or may not include. As soon as we have
clarity, we’ll work with Medway Council and other local
stakeholders to keep the community updated.”
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