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Supermarket Asda pulls plug on decision to build Minster store

By Chloe Holmwood

A supermarket giant has pulled out of its move to Sheppey, it has been revealed.

Despite years of waiting, Asda will no longer build a store on the boundary of the burgeoning Thistle Hill estate in Minster.

Plans for the scheme, which was proposed to be built off Plover Road, were revealed in August 2014 and were subsequently given the go-ahead in July last year.

Asda has pulled out of the Sheppey supermarket plan

Asda has pulled out of the Sheppey supermarket plan

If built, Asda would have occupied a 14,700 sq ft building opposite the Island’s community hospital. There would also have been a car park, delivery area and click and collect services.

However David Harvey, director at DHA Planning, the consultants working on behalf of landowner Dalemarch (Sheppey) Ltd, has confirmed Asda has withdrawn.

He said: “Unfortunately, Asda withdrew their interest in the Plover Road site after consent had been granted, despite continued efforts from Dalemarch to reach an agreement.

“Dalemarch has, therefore, been endeavouring to secure another retailer to take on the store, but has been unable to do so.”

Mr Harvey added that Dalemarch would continue to consider any interest that arises from retailers but, in the meantime, it will lodge a new planning application for housing at the front of the Plover Road site, which reflects the original allocation in the old Local Plan.

DHA Planning's David Harvey

DHA Planning's David Harvey

Meanwhile, developer Bovis Homes is still responsible for “parcel four” of Thistle Hill, off Thistle Hill Way, and, as part of a planning condition, is required to build four shops.

The deadline for the units to be completed was originally January 1, 2013. However, there are still no shops, with tenants said to have been put off by the planned Asda.

When asked what will happen next, a Swale council spokesman said: “We are engaging with the developer of the shop units, though we are aware there is not currently any interest from potential occupants.

“As the planning authority, we are contacting them to clarify their intentions, whilst giving them time to find a solution.

“If no alternative is available, we would then need to consider whether enforcement action was appropriate given the circumstances and potential appeals and costs.”

A Bovis Homes spokesman said discussions were continuing and that it had “no update to give at this time”.

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