Shopkeeper’s bid to stop store plan

Mr Shah has started a petition against a planning application
Mr Shah has started a petition against a planning application

A Luton newsagent has started a petition to stop a Tesco store being built on the site of his shop.

Aftab Shah has been the owner of Early Till Late in Riddy Lane for 11 years and says his landlord has refused to renew the lease.

He said: “Our shop lease is up for renewal and our landlord is refusing to renew it. They want to give our shop to Tesco. We have spent a lot of money on the shop and now we will be left with nothing.

“If new plans for Tesco go ahead, it could result in the closure of three small businesses, parking congestion and significant increases in the levels of traffic.”

A spokesperson for Day and Bell Ltd, the agents for the landlord of the store, said: “There is a planning application for a large store and the current businesses will be closed.” Mr Shah added: “The council do know about it but they are keeping it secret. The plan is to extend two shops and then open up all three into one. They are keeping quiet because they want to get approval first.”

“We work hard for the community. We should be saving small businesses, not giving them to the supermarkets.”

A Luton Borough Council spokesman said: “We have received a planning application for a single storey extension to the rear of the premises, but there is no indication of the involvement of Tesco.”