Tesco dirty tricks row: Retail giant accused of bulldozing through plans for big new stores

Daily Mail

By Sean Poulter, Consumer Affairs Editor
Last updated at 9:24 AM on 1st September 2010

Tesco has been accused of using its financial muscle and dirty tricks to win approval for a series of new stores.

Britain’s richest retailer is rushing through a massive building programme ahead of the introduction of controls that would severely limit its expansion.

Critics say the supermarket is acting as a ‘manipulative monopoly’ through its vast wealth and ownership of a massive land bank of development sites.

Yesterday it was alleged that it secretly bought a town centre shopping precinct through a front company and allowed it to become derelict and a magnet for vandals.

The firm then used the poor state of the shopping centre in Linwood, Renfrewshire, to win council backing for a massive new Tesco shopping complex, a property insider said.

In August last year, advertising watchdogs said Tesco used bogus statistics to support a planning application for a store in Essex.

The supermarket sent leaflets to residents in Manningtree claiming its own research showed there was a ‘need and demand’ for a new supermarket.

But the telephone poll used as the basis of the claim showed that just 38 out of the 440 people surveyed wanted one, and just 20 said they would like a Tesco.

A month before, council officials in Leeds launched an inquiry after it emerged that a letter from a resident supporting a Tesco store planning application was a forgery…