CONTROVERSIAL proposals to open a supermarket in one of Suffolk’s most prestigious seaside towns look set to be refused.

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Members of Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) will meet later this week to discuss proposals for a Tesco Express store on the site of the former Crossways Garage in Saxmundham Road, Aldeburgh.

The application, which has been tabled by developers Pigeon, also includes five flats and 18 permanent parking spaces with an additional three “temporary” bays.

However in their report to be put to the committee, planning officials make it clear their objection is based on the proposals for homes on the site.

If it was only for the supermarket there would not be such an objection. The report says: “The retail element of the development is considered acceptable.”

Their concerns are that the site is at risk of flooding – and for that reason homes should not be included there.

The scheme has fuelled much debate in the town and a report to be considered by SCDC’s north area development control sub-committee on Friday indicates the authority has received 374 letters of objection and 269 in support.

Aldeburgh Town Council recognises the proposed development “deeply divides town opinion” and has acknowledged that redeveloping the Crossways site would remove an eyesore.

But it has raised concerns over the proposed development of the site, traffic, road safety and parking, while also saying that an additional retail store cannot be justified.

Aldeburgh Business Association are also opposed, saying: “The Local Plan states that new developments must enhance and sustain the vitality and viability of the local town, and not adversely affect the attractiveness or character of the centre, or its role in economic and social life.

“This new convenience store is an ‘out-of-town’ store. It will duplicate products sold on the High Street and directly take business away from the High Street and affect the social life of the community.

“Independent High Street shops and services currently contribute considerable funds to community events in the town throughout the year.”

However there are many who support the application and would welcome another retail store to provide greater competition for the Co-op, driving down prices, improving choice and resulting in fewer shopping trips away from the town.

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