Boost for Hadleigh's Tesco plans

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a supermarket in a historic Suffolk town have been praised by design experts.

Craig Robinson

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a supermarket in a historic Suffolk town have been praised by design experts.

The Government sponsored Commission for Architecture and Built Environment (CABE) has written to Babergh District Council in support of Tesco's proposals at Hadleigh.

Earlier this year the supermarket giant handed in a planning application for permission to build a store at the Brett Works site.

The proposals have split the community in half - with opponents fearing it will lead to a loss of jobs in the High Street, cause gridlock on the roads and have a detrimental effect on the surrounding environment.

But CABE has written to the local authority in support of the plans, which have been designed specifically for Hadleigh using Suffolk pink in the colour scheme and building materials that Tesco bosses feel are sympathetic to the surrounding area.

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The letter reads: “We think the provision of a supermarket on this site is a welcome facility for local shoppers. We recognise that this will have major implications on Hadleigh as a whole and we are pleased to see that the design, generally speaking, recognises the sensitivity of the proposal.

“We congratulate Tesco for committing to build a bespoke solution and feel that this scheme, if our comments are taken on board, has every chance of becoming a successful example of how to treat supermarkets in sensitive environments.”

The CABE said it supports the siting of the building to the east of the site, the opening of a pedestrian route from the High Street, the routing of the main access road from the west of Bridge Street and the demolition of derelict buildings.

It was also “generally supportive” of the proposed building's overall form and architectural treatment - although it thought the use of two colours (Suffolk pink and blue) would be “slightly too much.”

But John Bloomfied, chairman of the Hadleigh Society - which opposes the plans - said: “I still think it is an appalling design that, when looked at in context, is completely out of place. Tesco's concept of Suffolk pink seems to be fanciful.”

He said the Hadleigh Society would now be inviting representatives of CABE to the town to explain their reasoning behind the letter.

Michael Kissman, spokesman for Tesco, said: “This response from the nation's pre-eminent design review panel, firmly supports all the work that we have put in to the design of our Hadleigh scheme.

“This follows extensive public consultation. We are pleased with the recognition that Tesco's building will be a worthy addition to the town.”

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