In November 2009, Sainsbury's submitted a planning application for a new store.. Tesco submitted plans to expand its existing store on Radwinter Road. Tesco's previous application to expand its store was refused at a public inquiry in 2000.
On 9th December 2010 Uttlesford District Council’s development control committee refused Sainsbury's application for a new supermarket on the casting vote of the committee chairman. The application from Tesco to extend its existing store was narrowly approved.
In April 2011 Sainsbury's revealed plans for a 20% smaller new store. At the same time it also lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate on the refusal of its earlier application.
In October the revised plans went before Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee but could not be determined as it is going to a public inquiry. In a tight vote, councillors agreed with recommendations to refuse the revised plans. Planning officers had stated that the application had not addressed the original concerns, particularly its detrimental impact on the town centre.
The council’s views formed a case for the Planning Inspectorate, alongside the original application. The inquiry opened on 9th February 2012. In May the Planning Inspector, Christina Downes, said the new store would have “significant adverse impacts” for the town and upheld the Council's decision to refuse planning permission.