Inverness has been referred to as a “Tesco Town” because Tesco has three out of the city’s four supermarkets and take 51p out of every £1 spent on groceries in Inverness. Tesco was finally granted planning permission for a fourth store in January 2009. Asda was given permission for a store in July 2010.
In 2006 a petition was set up and over 4000 signatures were collected for the petition in total.
The plans attracted opposition from business leaders and politicians from various parties. 350 concerned residents attended a public meeting about the plans at which they voiced opposition, and others have written to the council. Those opposing Tesco’s plans, included the Green MSP for the Highlands, believed that it would threaten existing businesses, was a larger development than appropriate for the area, would result in too much traffic and encourage car use. In particular they also believed that the level of dominance achieved by Tesco in Inverness was unhealthy for the entire retail sector, and that Tesco’s increased role in Inverness could potentially lead to a monopoly there.
In 2006 Tesco applied for planning permission to build a fourth supermarket. It had already received outline planning permission but attempted to get plans for a bigger store approved. A local campaign got off the ground with many traders and residents feeling that Tesco should not be granted an even greater share of the market in Inverness.
In March 2007, the Council voted to refuse the application. See the Tesco Town website and local media coverage of the planning officers' recommendation to refuse the application. Tesco appealed the decision but had its appeal turned down by the Planning Inspector. Please see coverage in the Highland News, 10th November 2007.
In early December 2008 Tesco's revised proposals for a smaller 2,588 sq m store on the same site were given the green light by Councillors. This will be the fourth Tesco store in Inverness. Please see an article in the Highland News, 4th December 2008. An amendment was lodged calling for the plans to go before the full Council committee. In January 2009 this committee also approved the plan by 14 votes to 5. Please see anarticle on BBC news, 21st January 2009.
In November 2009, Asda held a public consultation for it's plans for a new store in Inverness. It was finally granted planning consent in July 2010. Ministers announced they intend to give consent but first want to make sure there is a suitable traffic mitigation scheme in place. Please see an article in the Inverness Courier, 2nd July 2010.
See the Tesco Town website for more information.