Tesco is facing further accusations that it is using its financial clout to win approval for new stores, according to The Daily Mail.

The paper reports that critics of the supermarket chain allege it is acting as a “manipulative monopoly” through its wealth and ownership of a massive land bank of development sites.

Pressure group Tescopoly, which supports about 300 community groups opposed to the chain’s expansion, said that research it carried out with Friends Of The Earth shows “very clearly” that Tesco is exercising its muscle in the planning system.

It added: “[It[ has such vast resources that local councils are not really on a equal footing when it comes to negotiations and are often powerless to resist [its] expansion.”

The criticism follows a report in The Times yesterday (August 31) which alleges that the supermarket chain acquired Linwood town centre in Renfrewshire through a front company, and allowed it be become derelict as it tried to secure a regeneration deal. 

Tesco also faced allegations of foul play last August after it was claimed it had used bogus statistics to support a planning application for a new store in Manningtree, Essex. A month before, council officials in Leeds were forced to launch an enquiry into a letter from a local resident supporting a Tesco planning application after it was found to be a forgery. Tesco denied responsibility.

The Competition Commission is still waiting for the Government to ratify planning rules that will stop Tesco from opening large stores in 314 communities where it is dominant.

Tesco, which is reported to have confirmed it had ties to the company that acquired Linwood, has fought efforts to retain control of its expansion but denies using underhand tactics.