Future of Mablethorpe in jeopardy after Tesco shelves store plans

Mablethorpe's regeneration prospects are now in jeopardy after supermarket giant Tesco pulled out of building a store in Mablethorpe.
Mablethorpe's regeneration prospects are now in jeopardy after supermarket giant Tesco pulled out of building a store in Mablethorpe.

Supermarket giant Tesco have shelved their plans to build a new store in Mablethorpe which now puts the town’s regeneration prospects in jeopardy.

The news was announced last Thursday (January 8) amid the supermarket chains falling profits and has put a halt to plans for 49 new stores across the country. A further 43 stores will close.

Tesco’s plans to build in Mablethorpe has resulted in the town’s Golf Road development project coming to a stand still leading to residents questioning the resorts now uncertain future.

A supermarket was the key focal point for the site’s progression that would have brought forward huge financial benefits and a new lease of life for the town.

Now that Tesco has confirmed they are scrapping their store plans in Mablethorpe, what does this mean for the town’s future?

Director of Lincoln-based company Lindum, Paul McSorley said: “In light of receiving the news that Tesco will no longer be building on our site, we are being as positive as we can be. At least we now know where we stand.

“Tesco are being very open and are keen to talk, we recognise the importance of having a supermarket in Mablethorpe and the regeneration elements for the town, but we are in the early stages.

“We aim to set up a meeting with Tesco in the next two weeks. Clearly we are disappointed, but we can now plan on how we can bring this development forward.”

Mr McSorley also explained what will be happening next: “What we need to do next is to try and facilitate with Tesco in trying to get another retailer on board with the project.

“We need to help Tesco get in touch with the people we were talking to last time. Other major food retailers were interested in our site. But we need to see what demand is out there now.

“Of course we are also still committed to completing our housing build as promised.”

When The Leader asked Mr McSorely about the other proposed projects proposed for the multi-use development site, which included a restaurant and care home, he added: “The retail offer was one of the key components of our development moving forward and because we don’t know what will happen with this yet, it is difficult for us to move forward with the other elements of this project.”

Alongside the project, there was also the promise in the initial planning proposal that having a supermarket on site formed an integral part of having a Section 106 agreement totalling £850,000 that would have brightened up Mablethorpe’s regeneration prospects.

But with no supermarket in sight, this is one of the residents main concerns for the future of the town.

“We have tied millions of pounds into this site, we want the best for Mablethorpe, we want the jobs creation and the funding for the town, but Lindum needs to make a success of this scheme before anything can be moved any further forward,” Mr McSorley said.

“We’ve always been keen to have a retail store on site and until this is secured we are stuck.”

Mayor of Town Coun Tony Howard said: “I’m disappointed at the news as that element of the project was a major part of the total development. At the moment it has to be seen as a setback, but it may yet prove to be a new opportunity.

“I’m sure that when the full implications are known everyone involved will get back together to work out the best solution. It took many years to get the project to its current position it would be unfair to expect that this setback could be resolved overnight.”

Portfolio holder for economic development at East Lindsey District Council, Coun Craig Leyland, said: “The news that Tesco has pulled out of this development is disappointing, but not surprising given recent news reports in respect of Tesco’s current position as a business.

“Creating an all year round economy on the coast, with sustainable permanent jobs, is a priority for the council and the plans by Tesco would have helped us in moving towards that vision.

“The S106 money associated with the store was £850,000 and this was specifically to be used to address the impact of the store on the town centre. The money was to be used for Town Centre improvements, such as improving the shopping and visitor environment. No projects have been started.

“We will be meeting with Lindum shortly to fully understand the implications of the Tesco decision.”

During the time that decisions were being made by ELDC on Lindum and Tesco in 2011, two campaigning groups were formed.

Stephanie Carruthers was part of the campaigning group that was for the Golf Road project.

She said: “I was saddened by the news from Tesco, obviously this decision had nothing to do with Mablethorpe.

“The social houses that have been built are a god send to the town, as young families no longer have to live in substandard accommodation, obviously with the local connection criteria no new people have moved into the town, so the infrastructure of the town is not effected. Having spoken to Lindum, I am optimistic that they will do their upmost to buy back the land owned by Tesco and this will enable them to look for another supermarket to come to the site.”

But, Kim Parrinder, who was opposed to the development, is not surprised by how the project is panning out.

She said: “Big businesses like Lindum and Tesco work together to put big pressures on local authorities to get their applications approved, the retailer than pulls out and the developer gets what they want. I said from the beginning that Tesco will never come, as there is not enough money here for them.”

“They should change the agreement of the section 106 money and give the money now to help improve the infrastructure of the town. There is no pub, no restaurant, care home, centre for learning excellence and no new school entrance drop-off point for Mablethorpe Academy.”

“It is a lot of money for Mablethorpe to lose.”Being involved in the opposition group at the time was Kim Parrinder and is not surprised by how the project is panning out.

She added: “I am not the slightest bit surprised of how things are going.

“Big businesses like Lindum and Tesco work together to put big pressures on local authorities to get their applications approved, the retailer than pulls out and the developer gets what they want.

“I said from the beginning that Tesco will never come, as there is not enough money here for them.

“They should change the agreement of the section 106 money and give the money now to help improve the infrastructure of the town. There is no pub, no restaurant, care home, centre for learning excellence and no new school entrance drop-off point for Mablethorpe Academy.”

“It is a lot of money for Mablethorpe to lose.

“To me, all the underlying issues from before are still there, if we get a lot of rain, the new housing will be in big trouble with flooding and the supermarket should be in the town centre where it was originally planned and passed.

“I still absolutely feel that the development should not have gone ahead.”