Stockport has some odd sights. One of them can only be appreciated from the cafe in Tesco. You’ll see supermarket sales space, cordoned off, doing nothing.
At the time that Tesco opened the store, in 2004, it was without full planning consent. A retrospective application having been made to request extra ‘back room’ space over and above that which had been requested in the original application, and exceeded.
At the time the Stockport Express reported a Tesco representative explaining that no extra sales space had been built: “We realised at the end of July we were going to have a site bigger than we submitted, and then we had to put the new application together.” said Shaun Edgeley, “The sales floor has been built to exactly the size we have got permission for. It is not like we have tried to sneak in the application.”
Turns out this was wrong. The sales floor was bigger and the council insisted that the extra space was not used. In a statement on their website Tesco explain that the sales floor had in fact increased by over 400m².
They state “Whilst it is not unusual to apply for retrospective planning permission to accommodate minor changes to the original plans necessary as part of the on-site construction process, Tesco fully accepts that it is not normal to exceed the size of the overall building that has been granted consent.”
Conflict between Tesco and planners is something that is not uncommon. In response to FoE claims, Tesco asserted in a piece in The Guardian in 2006 that this conflict demonstrates that the planning process has teeth.
In Stockport the teeth of the planning permission took a bite out of one store. I wonder how many other conflicts end up in more than a playful nibble.