Hadleigh: Report explores financial implications of new Tesco

Tesco Hadleigh

Tesco Hadleigh

Figures backing a claim that a new Tesco supermarket in Hadleigh would “decimate” the town’s high street trade have been released to the EADT.

Local planners are due to decide in July whether the consumer giant can build a superstore on the former Brett Works site.

As part of a campaign against the proposal, Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce has commissioned a financial impact study, which suggests a new Tesco combined with the recently built Morrisons store, would take around £60million annually from a local catchment area that is only capable of generating £25million per year.

The current turnover in the high street is estimated at £15million, and chamber president Tony Addison believes the two supermarkets would compete directly with the 95 businesses in Hadleigh town centre for the limited available local spend. This he claims would “put all of them at risk of closure” as a result.

Last night a Tesco spokesman told the EADT the findings would not deter the company from pursuing the application.

Meanwhile local food campaigner Lady Caroline Cranbrook agreed that a second superstore would have a significant impact on independent shops in the town, especially those selling food.

According to the study, which will be delivered to Babergh councillors this week, a supermarket expects to take at least £9500 per m2. The Hadleigh catchment area as defined in Tesco’s recent planning application covers 17,000 people – or around 5,000 households.

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Mr Addison said: “Taking a very conservative view of Morrisons at 4500m2 and the planned Tesco at 1500m2, that gives us 6000m2. If you then apply the £9500 per m2 figure, this means the two supermarkets will be aiming to take just short of £60 million from the catchment area each year.

“The research identified the weekly local spend in the area, which equates to £25million per year, and this is less than half of what the other two supermarkets are planning to take.”

According to Mr Addison, the damage to the high street has already started with Morrisons. He added: “We have to live and work with that, but for the council to allow another supermarket would frankly be a disaster for the town and would prove fatal for business in the high street. It would decimate trade.”

Tesco has argued that only shops that sell similar products will be affected by a new supermarket. But Andrew Fitch, who runs town centre tile business, Bromley and Fitch, said: “Having Morrisons here has already had an effect on traders, including ourselves, because it has caused a drop in footfall to the town centre. We are more than adequately catered for by supermarkets and if we get another one on top of that, anyone can see that it will be far too much for the small number of people living in the area.”

Lady Cranbook, who fought plans for a Tesco on the edge of Saxmundham and has carried out extensive research in to how the local food network is affected by supermarkets, said: “These figures show there is no obvious additional retailing need in Hadleigh, so to allow for another supermarket would go against all planning policy guidance for maintaining the vitality and viability of the town centre. There is only a limited amount of retailing available so any additional supermarkets will take away trade from existing stores.

“Also, when you lose footfall from town centres, you end up with empty shops and vandalism and the whole thing starts spiralling downward.”

Based on the findings of a study commissioned by Babergh, Tesco believes it will compete with other supermarkets for trade rather than with the town’s independent businesses. The company’s corporate affairs manager Simon Petar said: “The draw to our store will be from those that are already using supermarkets for their grocery shopping - either from outside of Hadleigh or those on the outskirts of town. Local traders will benefit because we will bring more people on to the high street and customers will shop with us using our free car park before popping in to town, as our car park will be the same distance from the high street as the Magdalene Street car park.”