Monday, January 14, 2013
A NEW £8 million Morrisons superstore which opened in Hadleigh today has been greeted with enthusiasm by town residents.
The shop’s oldest member of staff, 74-year-old cleaner and Hadleigh resident Robert Warren, was given the honour of declaring the Calais Street store officially open. The supermarket chain worked with Job Centre Plus to fill its 228 vacancies, with more than a third of the positions going to people who were unemployed.
Morrisons encountered opposition during the planning process from rival chain Tesco, which has resubmitted an application to build a store in Hadleigh town centre. Morrisons manager, Kevin Gilbert, said he was relieved to see the shop finally open, adding: “It has been a long project to get to what you see here today. Hadleigh is a nice country town and we have had a lot of support from local residents. Our aim is to work with local people to make this a community-based store, and hopefully bring more people to the town to help other businesses.”
First customers Peta Grimwood and Tracey Southgate – both from Hadleigh – said they usually travelled to Ipswich to do their food shopping. They were “very happy” to have a supermarket nearer to home and would support it regularly.
Town councillor Penny Cook said most people seemed to be “very positive” about the supermarket. “It will be competition for the high street, but we have to understand that people in Hadleigh do want variety and choice,” she added.
According to the town’s chamber of commerce chairman Roger Bannister, business-owners were still cautious about the affect the new shop could have on town centre trade. He said: “The expectation in the retail sector here is that there will be a considerable downturn in trade in the town centre during the first two to three weeks after Morrisons opens, but then after that we will have to wait and see.
“In my opinion, unless they have a very aggressive pricing policy from day one, there is not likely to be any incentive for people to drive past town to go to Morrisons.”
But another town resident Percy Baalham, who lives at the opposite end of town to Morrisons said he would bypass the town to use the new store because it was more convenient for parking. “You can wheel your trolley right up to the car whereas in the town, it can be more awkward to park and you have to put a ticket on your car,” he said.
The new stores has been designed with a ‘fresh market’ inspired shopping space. Products on offer include 140 cuts of meat, more than 80 cheeses and up to 48 varieties of fresh-baked bread.