Tesco sign

A Tesco hypermarket on the Margate seafront has been given the go-ahead

The government has given the go-ahead for a Tesco hypermarket in the flagship Portas Pilot town of Margate.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles approved the 82,000 sq ft store at the Arlington House site on Margate’s seafront today after the plans were ‘called in’ in November last year.

In a letter to the developers, the government said the proposals were “acceptable” and “would perform the economic, social and environmental roles of sustainable development towards which it aims”.

The approval is controversial because Margate is the face of high-street tsar Mary Portas’ bid to reinvent the UK’s high streets.

The town, which was named one of her first pilots last year, has featured heavily in her TV programmes. Last year, members of the town team appointed to work with Portas quit en masse in a row over the show.

Last year, Portas wrote to Pickles on Tesco’s plans, describing them as a “disturbing threat” to Margate.

In 2011, the Local Date Company revealed Margate had a shop vacancy rate of 37.4%.

Comment: Let the cameras in, says Portas, or another town gets it