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Call to back Calne Tesco store
Calne chamber of commerce said it is willing to work with Tesco as the food giant bids for a new store in the town.
Tesco has announced it is planning a food store on land off the Beversbrook Road bypass. No planning permission has yet been entered but the company bought the land from Wiltshire Council last month.
The chamber’s new president, Paul Ogden, said it was inevitable planning permission for the store will be granted and urged the town to work with the retail giant rather than fight against it.
Mr Ogden said: “Even though everybody would say it is not a done deal yet, I think the plans will probably go through.
“No offence to Wiltshire Council, but they sold the land to Tesco so we can assume that they will be supporting it. For us, instead of getting upset and angry about it, we need to see how we can work with them to integrate them into the town.”
Members of the chamber met Tesco bosses in recent weeks to list their requests.
Mr Ogden said: “We spoke to them about what they can do for the town, above their section 106 contribution.
“There is a risk – a store on the edge of town could affect footfall. But people looking to go to Tesco would probably be from the north side of town and they don’t tend to come into the centre anyway.
“So I don’t see Co-op or Sainsbury’s losing out – it would more likely be Co-op in Lyneham that may feel an impact and they will be competing with Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in Chippenham. But competition is competition.
“We talked about how they can help us achieve some of the things we want to do. The town team, established after our first meetings of Calne Springs Forward, has come up with some great ideas which will help the town centre progress.
“There may be an opportunity to help us with the town’s transport infastructure and getting a circular bus that would also service John Bentley School.
“These are the kinds of things we are looking at. We have given them quite a long shopping list of things.”
Tesco wants to build the store on a 45,000sq ft piece of land. It would, they say, bring 150 jobs to Calne.
A pre-planning consultation is expected to begin later this year.