An enormous new regional distribution centre, which is controversially sited near Stonehenge, has been taken on by The Co-operative Group after Tesco backed out.

The Andover Airfield site was going to house a massive 863,000 sq ft Tesco RDC but there were local fears about the volume of traffic. Tesco said that following "discussions with the developer" it had decided there would be "too many restrictions" on the routes and timings of deliveries to make it viable.

This week Goodman, the developers, said an alternative deal had been struck for a smaller 500,000 sq ft RDC with The Co-operative Group, although it would not discuss the reasons Tesco had pulled out.

After a lengthy planning battle, permission was granted for the Tesco scheme this summer. The new deal with The Co-operative Group, which is looking to expand warehousing following its acquisition of Somerfield, will now require a new planning application.

"We are in the process of reshaping our distribution network," said Trevor Ashworth, director of food retail logistics for The Co-operative Group. "Our planned new RDC will provide both employment and a further boost to the local economy." More than 900 jobs would be created,he added.