Tesco has been blasted by residents and told to “get its act together” after mothballing its new £22 million Chatteris store – as a new Iceland supermarket gets ready to open in Wisbech.
Tesco has announced that the store – due to open in November with the prospect of 250 jobs – will now be delayed due to falling profits.
The 47,000 sq ft store will be temporarily boarded up, despite millions already being spent and months of disruption caused with the installation of a new underpass and much-complained about roundabout as part of the development.
Tesco dropped the bombshell at the weekend – as an investigation is launched and four of its top executives, including its UK managing director, were suspended after the company overstated its half-year profit guidance by £250 million.
Bryn Woodward, Tesco corporate affairs manager, said: “After careful consideration we have decided to delay the opening of our new store in town.
“We recognise some people will be disappointed with this decision and we are very grateful for the support we have received in the past for our plans. We will make sure the site remains secure and tidy whilst we review timelines for the scheme and will be sure to keep (Fenland) Council and local community informed as our plans progress.”
The decision has angered local residents, many of whom have posted comments online.
Nigel Bishop said: “I am not surprised by the turn of events Tesco has put itself in. Greed has taken hold of this food giant that thought it was untouchable. This is a sign of what it really thinks of its customers – bombarding the high streets with its shops and trying to drain other retailers out of business.”
Paul Hollingsworth added: “Did we ever really need another Tesco in the area? No. I would encourage Tesco to get its act together.”
Fenland councillor and former Chatteris mayor Florrie Newell said she was “absolutely furious”.
She said: “They’ve moved the river, put the underpass in and that disgusting roundabout which causes major hold -ups because it is not suitable for heavy goods vehicles,” she said.
“Now, they are just going to board up the site and leave it. What about the underpass? That could attract vandals. And there was the promise of all those jobs.”
1 More jobs are set to be created next month when Iceland Foods opens a new store on the Cromwell Retail Park in Wisbech.
Area manager, Phil Reynolds said: “We are delighted to be returning to Wisbech with our new store. We have wanted to return to the Wisbech area for a while, and are sure this will be a welcome addition to the community.
“This represents a considerable investment by Iceland Foods and reflects our commitment to growth into new areas of the UK.”