December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 16, 2013
Only one new superstore is needed in Felixstowe – and proposals by two top supermarket companies look set to be rejected.
Planning officers are recommending refusal for applications by Tesco and Asda, and urging the go-ahead for a “store on stilts” – with car parking underneath – with no named retailer involved at this stage.
Officers are confident the 30,000sq ft supermarket on land next to the town’s railway station would be built and the site not left as a white elephant, despite doubts cast by the other two firms.
Suffolk Coastal councillors meet on Thursday to decide which of the three stores should be approved.
In a 101-page report, case officer Liz Beighton says the resort needs a new store to claw back the trade being lost when people make trips out of town to the edge of Ipswich, and to cater for the growth in population with 1,700-plus new homes to be built in the next 15 years.
While all three schemes would result in benefits for the town, the Railway Approach store, submitted by Albourne Property, is “the optimum location for a new foodstore in Felixstowe” as it is closest to the town centre.
She said: “For example, each of the stores would have an element of comparison floorpsace which will be dedicated to clothing.
“Some commentators have noted that, particularly with children’s clothing and school uniforms, there is a lack of opportunity to purchase these at present in Felixstowe and people have to make special trips outside of the town.
“In addition, each of the applications provides some additional benefits to the local communities.
“The Walton Green application provides business units and a new link road through the site, both of which are aspirations in the Core Strategy.
“The Station Approach scheme provides a new interchange facility at the railway platform which has been a long term aspiration for the town and also seeks to provide a positive entrance to the town when approaching via public transport; and with regards to Haven Exchange the store seek to develop a current unattractive parcel of land at a prominent location in town and would also provide a petrol filling station and it is understood an ATM.”
However, the railway station site is the only one of the three capable of bringing more people to the town centre.
Ms Beighton said: “In the officers’ view, a store at Railway Approach will not therefore ‘break the routine’ of existing customer shopping patterns and preferences and result in positive benefits for the town centre as a whole as it will ‘claw back’ trade that is not currently going to the town centre and will maximise the potential for new linked trips by foot and expenditure to the town’s other shops, businesses and facilities.
“In turn this will result in increased trips and footfall to the benefit of the town’s overall vitality and viability.”