TESCO has been urged by Hyndburn planners not to abandon the idea of a Great Harwood superstore.
And a company spokeswoman said this week: “We are committed to delivering a site in Great Harwood. We are just looking at what our options are at the moment.’’
The proposed Queen Street store was set to proceed until the announcement last month that the Secretary of State had refused the application, following a four-day inquiry by a Government inspector.
Reviewing the decision at a meeting of Hyndburn Council's Planning Committee last week, chief planning officer Brent Clarkson said: “The inspector and Secretary of State felt that, if constructed, this new supermarket would help retain some shopping expenditure in the town and could well bring in additional shoppers.’’
But he pointed out that the application had fallen down on two grounds.
Firstly, he said, the inspector concluded that the retail giant had failed to demonstrate there was sufficient demand for both a new Tesco in Great Harwood and one in Accrington town centre. This could have an impact on market share and available capacity.
Secondly, he said, Tesco hadn’t considered “preferable sites” within Great Harwood town centre itself.
Committee chairman John Griffiths said: “Reading the report, I felt Tesco was going right on 90 per cent of the issues and it just seems to have stumbled on those two.”
Councillor Miles Parkinson said the plan was very important for the local economy in Great Harwood as well as the future of the Metflex site.
He added: “One would hope the developers would come back and challenge it.”
A spokesperson for the Co-operative Group, which opposed the application, said: “We were pleased with the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse the joint proposal by Hunterswalk Ltd and Tesco Stores Ltd at Great Harwood.
“Our objection to the proposal was based on sound planning policy and the interests of appropriate and proper planning for the future of Great Harwood town centre.
“This decision clearly demonstrated that the Co-op adopts a balanced view backed by sound planning policy reasoning and we will continue to oppose similar developments in future where we believe it is necessary.