Tesco cash to improve Desborough ‘not enough’

The former Lawrence's Factory where a Tesco will be built
The former Lawrence's Factory where a Tesco will be built

People have branded a supermarket chain’s offer of £430,000 to enhance a town centre ‘insulting’.

After a Tesco superstore was given planning permission on the former Lawrence Factory site in January by Kettering Council, councillors from the planning committee met on Monday night to endorse their officers’ efforts to secure £430,000 for major improvement works on Station Road and the town centre.

When approving the proposal in January, Kettering Council’s planning officials said it was chasing £800,000 in developer contributions.

But on Monday, Susan Garbutt, a council development officer, said it was predicted that £400,000 to £800,000 will be needed for improvements, and although the cash offered was at the lower end of the scale, the sum offered will improve the town considerably.

Cllr June Derbyshire, who represents theDesborough Loatland ward, said: “The community is horrified by this offer.

“Tesco will see us lose many of our independent shops and this puny offer will not compensate the town’s loss.

“I beg you to refuse Tesco’s insulting proposals.”

The funds will go towards revamping the junction of Station Road and High Street, with developers suggesting this could act as a town centre gateway, with an improved town sqaure.

There will also be a 20mph speed limit in Station Road and High Street as well as trees planted along both roads along with other design tweaks to the pavement and roads.

Extra parking will be made available while Station Road’s toilets will also be refurbished.

County councillor Belinda Humfrey said: “This offer will not mitigate the effect on the town. It is not in the public interest.”

But David Larmour, from Desborough Town Centre Partnership, said: “Nobody wants a conservation area. Lets get these improvements under way, we’ve been waiting for too long.”