The supermarket giant won two appeals against refusals of planning permission by Bradford Council – one for redevelopment of its existing site, on Springs Lane, to provide offices and residential care accommodation, and one for a new store in Mayfield Road.
Local pressure group Ilkley Residents Against Tesco Expansion (Irate), which sided with the parish council and Bradford Council, said last night: "Money, big business and nasty politics have consorted to deny local people the right to preserve the special nature of our town.
"Time and time again, Tesco has been allowed to dominate in small towns all over the country and its huge buying power can defeat even the most successful small store. How has Tesco been allowed to build a store whose turnover will be larger than all the other shops in Ilkley combined? Our beautiful town will deteriorate."
But the Planning Inspectorate official who heard the Tesco appeal in July, Harold Stephens, notes in his report that "there is scepticism as to how representative they (Irate) are of local residents".
And he asked whether biased questioning had influenced the survey results which Irate presented as evidence of local support.
He concluded: "Overall, the proposal would be in accordance with policies in the development plan and Government guidance.
"In addition, there are benefits relating to job retention and creation, improvement in shopping provision, redevelopment of an unattractive site and a modern store which would be resilient to climate change."
A Tesco spokesman, Matthew Magee, said Ilkley would benefit from the extra customers the new store would draw in – not least through an increase in the Tesco workforce from 145 to 357 locally.