The original 'Tesco Town' of Inverness will finally get its first Asda store - thanks to overwhelming public support for the development.

Despite planning officers' recommendation that Asda's application for a 75,000 sq ft Asda store be refused, councillors on The Highland Council's Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey planning committee voted 15 to two in favour.

The project, which also includes a petrol station and five small retail units, has now been given outline permission. Planning officers had recommended the application be refused because of the scale of the store and feared road congestion problems.

However, the council was inundated with 1,400 letters of support for the store, with no objections. An "unprecedented" 137 members of the public showed up at the committee meeting earlier this week to demand it receive permission

Controversially, a Tesco application to build a 47,850 sq ft store not far from the Asda development was turned down last March because it did not fit with the town's Local Plan.

This decision was upheld on appeal to the Scottish government last month. The council had received 73 letters and a petition, containing 1,054 signatures, against the proposal.

Tesco has three superstores in Inverness, and holds 56% of the local market, according to the latest figures from CACI.

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