Felixstowe: Local firms concerned over impact of Tesco plan

MORE than 80% of businesses are against a new Tesco superstore being built in Felixstowe – as fears about the potential impact on the town centre continue to grow.

The apparent opposition is revealed in a survey carried out by the Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce and campaigners say it backs up their own findings from talking to shopkeepers in the town and in Walton High Street, where the 30,000sq ft store will be built.

David Matson, a retired chartered planner, working with the Walton Community Felixstowe First group, said the main concern was the turnover a new store would have to generate.

“If the new store achieves the national average turnover per square metre for Tesco, it will generate a total turnover of nearly �35million per annum,” he said.

“The store’s turnover will be higher than that now achieved by the town centre, that is, �25m a year.

“Local residents currently spend �49m per annum on food and everyday items. A Tesco turnover of �35m per annum would be 71% of total residents’ expenditure.”

Mr Matson said that even if Tesco managed to persuade all of the 25% of people in Felixstowe who currently travel out of town to Asda, Sainsburys and Tesco to shop at the new Walton Green store, it would still need �22.5m from existing town stores.”

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“The town centre footfall is likely to decline, given the competition from the proposed Tesco store, its scale and intended appeal to car-borne shoppers making a weekly shop,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the developers, the Walton Green Partnership, said: “A new foodstore in Walton would not stop people visiting the shops in Felixstowe.

“In fact, our telephone survey revealed that many people still choose to buy food and non-food goods in Felixstowe town centre, even though they do their supermarket shopping in Morrisons, Cavendish Park, or even in Ipswich.

“A new foodstore in Walton would encourage local residents to do their shopping closer to home, which in turn creates opportunities for local businesses to capture spin-off trade.”