Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery reacted furiously today to what he called the ‘broken promises' of a major international company, to invest in the Northumberland market town of Bedlington after Tesco announced that it is to close its store in the town.
For the past few weeks Mr Lavery has been in discussions with Tesco about the future of the store and the promise the company made eight years ago to invest in Bedlington by building new shops and a business enterprise centre just yards away from its store.
The company had responded by saying that the enterprise centre and shops it had once planned for what it known locally as the ‘gap site’ would not be going ahead.
But My Lavery added: “Only last week I asked Tesco what its intentions for Bedlington were and they gave no indication that the store would also be closing in April. Now it seems that they are prepared to allow Bedlington to wither on the vine by closing what is a valued amenity for local people.
“When Tesco announced recently that it was to close 43 stores the company gave no indication that Bedlington would be one of them although they did say that Amble would be affected by the closure programme.
“Closing the Bedlington store will be a huge blow to the people who work there and my heart goes out to them as well as to the local residents particularly the elderly who found it very convenient for them in the town centre.
“Eight years ago the announcement that Bedlington was to get some new shops, a business centre for small firms and investment in the biggest supermarket in the town, was greeted enthusiastically. Today those hopes have been dashed and it is fair to say that this news has come as an absolute bombshell for Bedlington.
“My reaction is to say that I will immediately write to the Chief Executive of Tesco urging him to begin negotiations without any delay, over the disposal of the land and property the company owns in an around Bedlington Market Place, to Northumberland County Council so that alternative plans can be drawn up to ensure that the developments the people of the town were anticipating, can actually go ahead.
“I feel that I have been totally mislead by the company and never once in any recent discussions I have had with Tesco representatives was in hinted that the future of its Bedlington store was in jeopardy.
“Bedlington needs the sort of investment that would be of great benefit to the town centre – and which was promised eight years ago – and not the closure of an important local amenity such as this store.”