A RETAILER could return to the negotiation table if a track behind its Petersfield superstore is designated as a footpath.

That’s the hope as a committee is keen to make the route from The Petersfield School to Tesco an official Public Right of Way (PROW).

Some 400 students an hour use the route at peak times but because it’s not an official footpath, it doesn’t appear on the county’s definitive list of PROWs.

Hampshire County Council would likely approve an application as their user data all but forced Tesco to withdraw plans for a Timpson pod on the route earlier this year. An application is in the pipeline as the Town Development Committee welcomed the move when they met early this month.

“It’s a heavily used permissive path so some additional protection seems essential if things like that are to happen again,” said Gethin Morgan-Owen.

The town council remains keen on turning land behind Tesco into a water meadow but the retailer owns the property. Talks have stalled but town clerk Neil Hitch suggested the application could prompt a rethink.

He said: “Maybe, just maybe,  starting off on this process could help us re-engage with Tesco to get that land transferred to us as a community asset.”