The Chief Executive of Tesco, Dave Lewis, has written to local councillor Tim Huxtable (Cons) to say that despite plans to cancel other new stores, Tesco will still be opening in Stirchley.
However, he gave no firm date for the opening which Cllr Huxtable says is disappointing and that local businesses have had to needlessly move away from the now derelict proposed site.
Cllr Huxtable said: “What Stirchley residents and businesses are looking for is the certainty of when the development will start and the store will open. This letter does not provide this certainty and thus condemns the Hazelwell Lane development site, at the heart of Stirchley Village and Local Centre, to further blight and dereliction in at least the short to medium term.”
In his letter Mr Lewis said: “I would like to reassure you that it remains our intention to open our planned store [in Stirchley]. We continue to believe that the store would provide a valued service to the local community and we know that many people are keenly anticipating the opening.
“We are not yet in a position to confirm an opening date but we will be sure to keep you closely updated on progress.”
The letter follows news that Tesco plan to scale back investment in new stores as well as close 43 smaller stores. Although trading in the run-up to Christmas was better than expected, Tesco have had a turbulent year with accounting scandals and poor sales overall.
The plans for a Tesco store in Stirchley go back to the early 2000s but it was hoped the new store might be built by 2017 at the latest. Local businesses have vacated the site which is now boarded up and buildings demolished.
Cllr Huxtable called on Tesco to offer clarity over the timescale for the development.
Local MP Steve McCabe (Lab) said he too had had confirmation that the store would still be built.
Reply from Tesco C.E. today confirming that despite financial problems &cancellation of some plans, new Stirchley store still on. Great news
— Steve McCabe (@steve_mccabe) January 8, 2015
Below is the full letter from Tesco to Cllr Huxtable: