Page last updated at 06:31 GMT, Thursday, 27 November 2008

Town store fight enters new phase

Tesco sign
Tesco says it still hopes to build a new store in Kelso

Supermarket giant Tesco has said it remains committed to building a new store in a Borders town despite having plans turned down earlier this year.

Scottish Borders Council rejected its Kelso scheme in favour of a rival site proposed by Sainsbury's.

However, SBC has yet to agree a sale deal for the land at Pinnaclehill where the store would be built.

Tesco described a planning application submitted by Sainsbury's for the site as "speculative and premature".

Earlier this year SBC gave its backing to outline plans by Sainsbury's at Pinnaclehill.

It rejected two other proposals - one by Tesco - for different locations.

Sainsbury's subsequently submitted a full planning application.

Tesco remains committed to opening a supermarket in Kelso that meets all the requirements of the local plan and the needs of local shoppers
Douglas Wilson
Tesco corporate manager
However, the sale of the site it is targeting has not yet been completed.

SBC, which owns the land, set a closing date for offers on 12 November.

A spokeswoman confirmed it was still studying the bids.

Sainsbury's is proposing a 30,000 sq ft store which it claims would bring about 200 jobs to the town and address limits in its "main food provision".

Rivals Tesco said it remained interested in coming to Kelso despite its earlier rejection.

Douglas Wilson, corporate manager for Tesco, said it was awaiting the outcome of the sale of the land but remained optimistic it could build in the town.

"There is an expectation, given the current economic climate and budget shortfalls, that the SBC will endeavour to ensure that best value is secured for the site," he said.

"Following discussions with the council we do not expect a decision on the sale of the land until the early part of next year and we consider the planning application lodged by a rival supermarket to be both speculative and premature.

"Tesco remains committed to opening a supermarket in Kelso that meets all the requirements of the local plan and the needs of local shoppers."

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