444 Tesco jobs could have been saved, Hatfield councillor claims
PUBLISHED: 09:44 12 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:53 12 January 2017
Had Tesco been given an opportunity to expand its Welham Green centre, jobs could have been saved, a Hatfield councillor has claimed.
On Monday, Tesco made public its plans to shut its distribution centre in Welham Green and move its grocery operations to the Reading distribution centre.
Borough councillor Paul Zukowskyj, who represents Welham Green and Hatfield South, told the WHT: “It’s absolutely devastating for the 444 who may lose their jobs.
“The average length of service there is 18 years. It’s a very stable workforce.
“I think it’s been there since at least the 70s.
“I had a meeting with Tesco a few years back and I have known there’s been a question mark over it for a few years.
“Tesco said they needed to move or expand and one of the reasons they couldn’t was the New Barnfield development [the site on which an incinerator had been proposed].
“But that site’s been vacant for about 18 months now. The county put it forward for housing in the Local Plan but the borough turned it down.
“They could have sold it to Tesco and it could have been developed.
“The site is owned by the county council and it is immediately west of the Tesco warehouse.
“It’s the only direction Tesco could have expanded in. County knew they were interested.”
But a Hertfordshire County Council spokesman said: “We held discussions with a representative of Tesco’s property department with regard to their depot in 2009.
“As a result of this meeting, Tesco’s representative agreed that an expansion onto part of the New Barnfield site would be incompatible with the Green Belt status of the area as there was no shortage of facilities and land allocated for depot use on non-Green Belt land in the area.
“Hertfordshire County Council has not been contacted by Tesco since 2009 about this matter.”
Tesco states that its proposals form part of a wide programme of transformation, which has been taking place of the last two years.
Tesco states that new roles will be created at Reading.
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