Tesco has agreed to set up a £20,000 ‘community fund’ to benefit residents in two towns where it mothballed stores.
The fund will be used for residents in Whittlesey and Chatteris who discovered last month that Tesco would not go ahead with stores in their towns.
The supermarket chain has shelved plans for a store in Station Road, Whittlesey, while a £22 million store in Chatteris will not open despite being completed.
The announcement came as Tesco decided to shelve 49 new stores and shut 43 current ones.
The decision in early January had prompted a frustrated Councillor John Clark, leader of Fenland District Council, to seek an urgent meeting with Tesco.
That meeting was held two weeks ago between Tesco representatives, Cllr Clark and Paul Medd, the council’s chief executive.
During the meeting Tesco agreed, at the request of the council, to set up the fund as a way to demonstrate its commitment to serving the residents of Chatteris and Whittlesey.
The fund will focus on providing support in the shape of small grants to local charities, community groups and clubs.
Cllr Clark said: “We are pleased that Tesco has agreed to support the idea of a community fund and said that it would be happy to work in partnership to help deliver this for the people of both Chatteris and Whittlesey.
“Local residents were disappointed by Tesco’s decision so I am pleased that they have come forward with a community fund.”
Tesco has also pledged action to keep the site in Chatteris clean and tidy until a future use for the site can be
Discussions with potential alternative tenants for the store are ongoing and the retailer has committed to keeping the council and the local community updated.
Tesco has also promised to ensure “better access” to Larham Way and the play area there.
In addition, Tesco is arranging for its contractors to visit Chatteris to tidy up the main site, with a particular emphasis on the area where the petrol station was due to be located.
It has promised the contractors will also ensure that residents can access the play area easily and assess whether any further building works are required to complete it.
If further work is needed, it will be carried out as soon as possible.
Tesco has also said it is in the process of setting up a ‘regular and comprehensive maintenance regime’ for the
summer months, to include both collecting litter and cutting back any overgrown vegetation and plantlife.