TRAFFORD Council were accused of delivering “a death knell” for Stretford Mall last night following a decision by councillors to approve Tesco’s planning application for a 167,000 sq ft store.

Just hours before, bosses at the troubled Chester Road mall had announced receivers had been called in.

Lancashire County Cricket Club - which now stands to pocket £21 million from the council to paying for improvement work as part of the deal - were jubilant, LCCC Chief Executive Jim Cumbes describing the decision as, “an historic decision for international cricket in the north west.”

Gorsehill resident Debbie Ellen, who spoke against the Tesco application at the meeting, said: “This decision is probably the death knell for Stretford Mall and local shops in nearby centres.

“This scale of retail impact on local shops is wholly unacceptable and is in clear breach of national planning policy.

“The No Mega Tesco group believes that Trafford Council should be helping to re-develop the Stretford town centre not allowing Tesco to build an out of centre mega-store that will damage local shops in the Mall and nearby areas.”

The campaign group are now calling on local residents and businesses to write to both Government Office North West and the secretary of state for planning to call for a public inquiry.

The Old Trafford Partnership, made up of Lancashire County Cricket Club, Ask Developments and Tesco, all welcomed the planning committee’s decision.

LCCC’s Jim Cumbes said: “This is an historic decision for the future of international cricket in the north west. We can now press on with redeveloping the famous Old Trafford cricket ground and securing our place as one of the world’s best cricketing arenas.

“The planning committee recognised the important role the club plays in supporting Trafford’s economy – especially through hosting international matches like the Ashes. They also backed our plans to deliver a much-needed new retail offering, hundreds of local jobs, and millions of pounds in regeneration to this part of the borough.”

Mr Cumbes said construction work was now scheduled to start this autumn.

Manchester Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the news. Spokesman Matthew Kershaw told Messenger: “We’re delighted this project has been given the go ahead. Both Greater Manchester Chamber and its Trafford Local Chamber Council supported the scheme.

“The redevelopment will be a major boost for the whole borough attracting investment and ensuring that Old Trafford remains a venue for international cricket.”

“The redevelopment will be a major boost for the whole borough attracting investment and ensuring that Old Trafford remains a venue for international cricket.”

Derwent Holdings, whose planning application for a 90,000 square foot Sainsbury’s at White City Retail Park, was rejected by councillors at the same committee last night.

Commenting on that, Derwent spokesman Ged Carney, said: “It's unfortunate that the matter will have to be referred to the Secretary of State to rectify today’s inappropriate decision, which has been reached for political, rather than planning reasons.

"Needless to say we’re disappointed with this decision, and are very optimistic that an appeal will be successful”

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