Fight to extend Hitchin Tesco opening hours

AN APPEAL to open a supermarket for longer on Sundays has been lodged by the chain, following a council’s refusal to grant an extension to the current opening times.

Tesco Express, which is based in Lyon Court, just off Walsworth Road, Hitchin, is currently allowed to open from 7am until 11pm Monday to Saturday and 8am until 9pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

It had applied in March to North Herts District Council (NHDC) for an extension to its Sunday hours, to come in line with other days of the week.

That application was rejected by the council, due to concerns on the impact it could have on residents, and now Tesco bosses have launched an appeal, expected to be decided by the planning inspectorate early next month.

Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “All the relative documents have been sent to the inspectorate.

“Included in these is a full statement from the council, expanding on the original reasons why it felt the application should be rejected.”

Residents raised concerns about litter, parking and anti-social behaviour when it was announced the store would be opening earlier this year. Cllr Judi Billing, who has previously voiced concerns over alcohol being sold so close to the railway station, said: “Their greed and disdain for local opinion and the will of planning and licensing committees astounds me every time.

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“Their need for profit is clearly the only thing that matters in the whole world.”

Tesco was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.