THE lawyers are the big winners as the completion of the saga of the Tenbury town centre improvements comes to a complete halt.

Ken Pollock, who represents Tenbury on Worcestershire County Council, could offer no good news when he gave an update to the town council.

In fact, he reported that there is no end date for the completion of the work that has ground to a halt and now looks certain not to be ready for Christmas.

Instead it is caught up in a dispute between the county council and Tesco.

“I regret to say that there has been no substantive progress on the public realm matters under dispute with Tesco’s,” said Coun Pollock.

“It may come as no surprise that the lawyers are still arguing and we seem to be no nearer resolution.”

In a few months it will be five years since work started on a modest scheme to improve the look of the centre of the small market town.

Coun Pollock says that it was 2015 when work started on the project that has been caught up in a catalogue of problems.

At the core is the fact that the scheme could not be paid for by its sponsors Worcestershire County Council.

The cash-strapped council, caught up in austerity, was banking on the support of Tesco as part of the arrangement that brought the supermarket chain to the town.

It was first muted in early 2010 that Tesco wanted to come to the town.

But the issue was caught up in protracted planning problems with an initial application eventually withdrawn.

The eventual agreement was that Tesco would pay for some of the work and so the scheme was split into two phases.

However, the second could not go ahead until Tesco could provide funding and there was a further long delay when the supermarket entered a prolonged period of financial difficulties that resulted in the start of the second phase being delayed.

Eventually, the store was built and opened but since then there has been a dispute about who pays for what.

The project has also been hit by a catalogue of snags that have included the correct materials not being available. Some of the work that has been done has had to be re-done.

There have also been complaints from traders who have said that the work has damaged businesses by making it difficult for deliveries and for shoppers. At one time people in Tenbury also complained about the noise of work undertaken at night.