December 9 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
People campaigning against a new Tesco in Hadleigh fear they face an uphill battle after planning chiefs recommended the scheme for approval.
The latest application by the retail giant for permission to build on the former Brett Works site off High Street will be debated next Wednesday.
When a previous application by Tesco was discussed in 2011, the case attracted national interest. As Babergh District Council is expecting a large number of people to attend, the meeting is scheduled to be held in Hadleigh’s Guildhall Complex instead of the council chambers.
In recent months protestors, including the town’s chamber of commerce and the “Hands Off Hadleigh” group, have commissioned reports highlighting the impact the development could have on Hadleigh’s road system and its economy.
But according to group member Jan Byrne, it appears that the findings of the studies have not been taken into consideration in Babergh planning officer William Richards’ report.
She said: “We have always felt that our studies and the hundreds of letters from objectors have been ignored by Babergh, but the money we have spent on professional opinions will not be wasted if this goes to a public inquiry.
“The building hasn’t changed since the last application, which was turned down, so I can’t see how the officer can recommend it for approval when it is not economically viable and gives no consideration to the health of the High Street.”
Mrs Byrne also criticised the council for giving “short notice” about the meeting, adding: “Hadleigh Town Council only found out about it yesterday morning.”
Babergh Green Party co-ordinator Robert Lindsay said he was “outraged” by the recommendation.
“Babergh’s planning officers have recommended approval of this despite objections from Hadleigh Town Council, Aldham and Whatfield Parish Council and hundreds of individual Hadleigh residents,” he said.
“Worse they are recommending approval despite the fact that since Tesco last applied, a new Morrisons supermarket has been built in Hadleigh.
“Independent retail consultants have told them that the town is too small to support three supermarkets and it is likely to lead to the closure of independent stores.”
Last night, Babergh declined to comment on the application. No-one from Tesco was available to talk to the EADT.