THE chairman of Ashbourne Town Council's planning committee says plans to extend the car park at the Sainsbury's supermarket raises questions over plans to make the store larger.
Bosses insist the Cooper's Mill store extension, which was the subject of a planning battle in 2011, is still in the pipeline despite rumours that the project had been shelved.
A planning application was received by Derbyshire Dales District Council last week for a new parking area.
This would create 32 extra spaces off King Edward Street, over what would have been the footprint of the extended store.
Planning chairman and deputy mayor Jon Barrs says this adds weight to the rumours that the extension, which will lose planning consent if it is not started by October next year, might not be going ahead.
He said: "It's rather confusing. It's not a massive extension to the car park, compared to what was proposed the last time, and it would surely preclude the building of the store extension if it was to be a permanent feature.
"Obviously, the extra parking spaces has benefits for Ashbourne but, if the store extension doesn't go ahead, then a question remains over what will happen to the council car park next door.
"It's as if it's just been dragging on and nothing seems to be happening. We'd like to know if the extension is coming or not."
A spokesman for Sainsbury's said: "We have submitted a planning application to improve the car park.
"This includes proposals to increase the overall number of spaces at the store, relocating the disabled and parent and child spaces.
"These plans allow us to improve car parking in the short term and do not prevent us improving our store going forward."