PLANNING bosses have apologised for allowing plans for a Tesco supermarket to go through unchecked.

In November, an application was submitted to Colchester Council to convert a row of three shops in Cotman Avenue, Prettygate into four separate outlets, which was granted.

But since then, a number of amendments to convert the four shops into one large shop were granted by council planners without consulting residents or councillors because they were not considered ‘material’, or important enough.

Tesco is now set to open an Express store in the larger space.

The council planning department has come under fire for turning a blind eye.

In an email to Prettygate councillors, planning manager Andrew Tyrrell, said: “It is my opinion, on looking back at this file retrospectively, that the amendments should have been subject to a full planning application process, with consultation, which would have been our normal procedure.

“However, this was an error of judgement made by the officer at the time.

“It was a judgement call based on a matter of fact and degree.

“However, I would have expected that the change in character from four to one units would have been judged to be ‘material’.”

He added: “Nevertheless, the decision was issued and is a valid permission.

“I have spoken with the officer involved and this will not happen again.”