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Manningtree: Supermarket appeal thrown out

09:02 22 November 2012

Should a Tesco superstore be built at Felixstowe?

Should a Tesco superstore be built at Felixstowe?

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AN APPEAL to halt plans for a new Tesco superstore being built in Manningtree has been thrown out by a senior judge.

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The East of England Co-operative Society challenged the grant of planning permission for a large new Tesco store on the edge of the town centre.

The Co-op, which has a store nearby, has already failed at the High Court and yesterday went to the Court of Appeal, where a top judge kicked out its “unarguable” challenge.

Sir David Keene’s decision in London paves the way for the development, at a former industrial site in Station Road, to go ahead.

Afterwards, a senior retail boss from the Co-op said he had “grave concerns” over the decision.

During the hearing, Co-op barrister Richard Harwood argued that, in considering Tesco’s planning application, Tendring District Council (TDC) made a host of omissions and errors.

He criticised the council’s assessment of the impact on retail outlets in the town centre and the way environmental considerations were dealt with.

The council made no reference to the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which is due to be extended to the shore of the River Stour nearby, he said.

And it did not inform English Heritage of the application, meaning the decision was made without knowing what its stance on the development was.

TDC approved the Tesco store in July last year amidst strong oppostion from campaigners who packed out Clacton Town Hall during the planning committee meeting.

On Wednesday when giving his judgment, Sir David said he agreed with Mr Justice Sales, who rejected the Co-op’s bid to judicially review the grant of planning permission in April.

“I simply cannot accept that the committee overlooked the relationship of this site to the AONB, as existing and proposed, and to the River Stour,” he said.

“There is evidence that committee members visited the application site before the decision was made and that members were familiar with the proposed AONB extension.

“Moreover, the report to committee went into great detail as to the design of the Tesco scheme and the likely impact of it on long-distance views.

“The reality is that the visual effects of this scheme on the area and its surroundings were considered with great care.”

Roger Grosvenor, executive officer for retail at the Co-op said: “We believe that this has been a fight worth fighting for Manningtree and the local community. Throughout this process we have had grave concerns over what the impact of this decision will be on the Manningtree community, and all of the independent retailers and businesses in the town.

“We look forward to continuing to provide an excellent service to our loyal members and customers in Manningtree and the surrounding area.

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