May 23 2013 Latest news:
By Emma Brennan
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A BATTLE over planning permission for an extension to the car park of a new Morrisons superstore in Hadleigh has been resolved.
Babergh District Council took so long to decide whether the company could legally expand the car park at the Calais Street retail site that the company lodged an appeal against non-determination, which was scheduled to be heard at a public inquiry this month.
However, Morrisons withdrew the appeal and the application came back to Babergh’s planning committee last week, which finally voted to approve the extension retrospectively. Morrisons, which opened at the beginning of January, claimed it had a certificate of lawfulness for the extension work, which it had already carried out.
But Babergh planning officers said that had not been verified.
There were originally 325 car parking spaces at the site. Following completion of the extension and regarding works, there are around 417.
At the meeting, Babergh case officer Gareth Durrant said the case had a “complex history”. The company had withdrawn the appeal and re-submitted the application to the local authority to get a “quicker decision”.
Morrisons development executive James Smith told the committee it was “regrettable” that they had needed to construct the car park before the planning application was approved.
But he added: “Once the site opened, no objections to the car park land use were submitted and there have been no objections from the statutory consultees.”
Committee member Kathryn Grandon said she supported the application, adding: “The car park is needed to stop congestion in the town. In order for this supermarket to operate effectively without queues of cars at peak times, we need to give this application its approval.”
Her colleague Clive Arthy said congestion had been eased to the point where he was able to park a Land Rover and trailer on the High Street during the day, which is “unheard of”.
He added: “I think in the long run, people might see this as a negative for town centre traders, but it can’t be a reason for refusing this application.”
Another committee member Mary Munson, who is also Hadleigh’s mayor, said the present arrangement had been accepted by the townspeople, but she raised concerns for the safety of pedestrians at a junction with Mill Lane and a roundabout leading to the Morrisons store.
She added: “Generally, the whole site has been greatly improved and it brings an attraction and an added bonus to the town.”