8 APRIL 2004
The late Princess Diana may be sharing her last resting place with a Tesco supermarket and 2,500 new homes if plans to develop the family's Northamptonshire estate go ahead.
The Princess' brother, Earl Spencer, could make up to £50 million from the sale of 508 acres of estate land in a proposal which has come in for criticism from local residents. Original plans for the scheme were scrapped five years ago, but this time the Earl may not be able to turn down the deal.
With the government demanding 55,000 new homes in the county, the local council has indicated the scheme will almost certainly be given approval. "There was a massive public outcry in 1999, but now we have to accept that at some stage or other there will be development there," said council leader Phil Larratt.
While Diana's 13,000-acre family seat is open to the public, it needs 120,000 visitors a year in order to break even. Over the last three years it has been operating at a loss with numbers down to just 80,000 compared with highs of 150,000 when it was first opened in the wake of Diana's death.
In addition to the supermarket and 2,500 homes, the site would also house a medical centre and a bus station.