Tesco is the secret bidder behind one of the new 'ecotowns' shortlisted for development by the Government. Sunday Telegraph

Britain’s biggest retailer plans to build a large 'environmentally friendly' store in the centre of the proposed town in a move that will further increase Tesco’s high-street dominance.

Its involvement in the eco-town programme has surprised campaigners. They are concerned that Tesco has withheld its identity from planning proposals. The move may also revive fears over 'land-banking', the controversial supermarket practice of owning large tracts of undeveloped land.

One of the towns shortlisted last week for potential development - Hanley Grange in Cambridgeshire - was put forward by a company called Jarrow Investments. Jarrow owns much of the land on behalf of Tesco.