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Frustration over Tesco Express hold-up in Bovingdon
People in Bovingdon are "in limbo" over the unexplained delay of plans to build a new Tesco Express store in the village.
Despite winning planning permission for a store and eight flats on the corner of Bovingdon High Street and Chesham Road in 2010, building work hasn’t begun.
Planning permission is set to run out at the end of February and the supermarket giant has now applied to Dacorum Borough Council for more time to build. Parish councillor Richard Briden said: "We are in limbo waiting to hear what will happen.
"This has been going on for far too long. When planning permission was granted residents were forced to get used to the idea and three years later the Tesco hasn’t appeared.
"Works to improve the road surfacing on that site are vital, but work cannot begin if we don’t know what is happening. It is a major hold up."
In 2009 original plans to transform the former car showroom and garage were unanimously rejected by villagers, traders and the borough council because the store did not keep with the appearance of the village and would cause traffic problems. However, a year later, planning inspector Roger Pritchard approved the plans on the basis Tesco would increase vitality and viability of Bovingdon as a shopping destination.
Now residents and shop-owners await a council decision on the continuation of planning permission and say they want to know why the supermarket has not yet been built.
Kalpana Hirani, who has owned the newsagents in the High Street for a year said she still fears for smaller businesses.
Ms Hirani said: "It is a worry for small business in the village. We don’t really know what is going on and it would be good to know when building will start."
Alan Lake, owner of the High Street butchers said a Tesco store would "slaughter local businesses in the village."
The butcher of 47 years said: "This is such a lovely village and it would be a great shame for a Tesco store to come in and destroy it. I have got to know my clientele really well and it is a nice village to be in.
"I am concerned for my business and I have seen it so many times - where big companies destroy the livelihood of smaller businesses.
"It would be nice to know what is going on."
Meanwhile Bovingdon resident, Roscoe Noonan said he was still "totally against the plans" despite the giant supermarket gaining permission three years ago.
Mr Noonan said: "This is an example of bigger businesses with lots of money muscling their way in to destroy smaller local businesses.
"Residents have been campaigning against this for years and now there has been a holdup, let’s just hope we can campaign against it again."
Luisa Clarke, spokesman from the borough council said Tesco had reached their "absolute three year limit to build" since they were granted planning permission.
She said: "Our planning officers are currently in the process of deciding whether planning permission will be extended."