Tesco pulls out of Margate seafront store development
Supermarket giant Tesco has abandoned plans to open a superstore on Margate seafront after fighting for years to get planning permission.
The store was planned for the car park of Arlington House tower block, next to Dreamland theme park, with the flats being renovated as part of the project.
Final approval was given by the government in June 2013 after a five-year planning row and a public inquiry.
Tesco said it had pulled out because of changing shopping habits.
People living in the tower block, who describe the flats as an "eyesore", opposed the superstore saying it would be detrimental to Margate.
But landlord Freshwater said it saw the development as part of the overall regeneration of Margate which includes the opening next year of Dreamland as a "vintage-style" attraction.
Tesco said it was reducing the number of large stores it opened each year as a result of changing customer shopping habits.
"After careful consideration we have therefore decided not to pursue a new large store in Margate," said a spokesman.
"We'd like to thank everyone who supported our plans and will continue to serve the local community through our other stores in the town and our online grocery shopping service."
Tesco is currently being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following its admission last month that it overstated its half-year profit guidance by £250m.
Sir Roger Gale, Conservative MP for North Thanet, said he was not surprised by the decision.
"Tesco have been reining back for quite a long time," he said.
"I think it is a pity, because I am one of the very few people I think who believe it would have been good for the town.
"What we now have to do is to find another anchor tenant because effectively we have an almost derelict site on our hands."