TESCO is unlikely to open a supermarket in Faringdon until at least 2014, despite winning planning permission last year.
The supermarket giant won an appeal against Vale of White Horse District Council’s rejection of the bid for Park Road in 2010. And Waitrose, which was planning a rival store next to Gloucester Street car park in the town centre, withdrew its bid that August.
The rival plans had sparked a “class war” debate in the town, with only one store ever likely to go ahead.
On Friday, Tesco said it aimed to start work on the 2,140 sq m store, on the former JDS site, which will create 150 jobs, before the end of next year.
It denied it had anything to do with an announcement this week that UK profits had fallen for the first time in 20 years.
Town centre trader Denise Palmer, from Presentation Gifts, said the news was disappointing.
She said: “Tesco was saying it was going to bring lots of people into the town and it probably will when it eventually gets here.
“But times are tough and we don’t want other future investors in the town to say they aren’t going to come now as the big people aren’t coming. It’s very disappointing.”
Faringdon Chamber of Commerce member Nick Elwell said he was concerned the site would deteriorate further.
He said: “It’s just frustrating. The place is a mess.
“It’s falling to wrack and ruin and it’s just going to be left for two years.”
Mohinder Kainth, district councillor for the town, called for more details from Tesco.
He said: “I am concerned and I am keen for whatever happens to happen sooner rather than later.”
Tesco spokesman Simon Petar said: “We hope to start building works on the Faringdon site before the end of 2013 and we will keep the community informed of a likely start date.”
He added: “These things often take time.
“There is no overbearing reason it will not be until then, that’s just what it is.
“It’s when it fits into our development programme.”
Waitrose said it had no plans to revive its bid for a store in the town.