Hadleigh: Tesco campaigners back in action

A CAMPAIGN to stop a bid by retail giant Tesco to build a new store in Hadleigh has been re-launched.

‘Hands off Hadleigh’ was set up in protest against an application by Tesco dating back to 1999 to put a supermarket on the former Brett Works site behind High Street and Bridge Street.

The group scored a victory in July last year when Babergh councillors threw out the company’s plans on the grounds of ‘unsuitable design’. But this August, Tesco lodged a revised application with the district authority, which is expected to be debated next month.

According to Hadleigh Society member and Hands off Hadleigh campaigner Jan Byrne, in a referendum in 1999, more than 72% of the town’s residents voted against a store on the River Brett site. She has written to Babergh objecting to Tesco’s new plans on grounds including lack of retail need, potential issues with traffic, vehicle access and the current high street economy, which she claims will be adversely affected by the new Tesco store. She said: “Hands off Hadleigh supporters are not a small minority. The plan to build a Tesco on the River Walk has received sustained and widespread opposition among local residents and neighbouring villages.

“Hundreds of people have repeatedly turned out for events over the last 12 years to highlight concern about the choice of site, increased traffic, safety issues and access on a bend on a listed bridge.”

In the 1970s, Tesco owned a retail site on Calais Street, but after it opened a branch at Copdock in 1998, the site was sold to QD Stores. Morrisons has recently acquired planning permission to open a store at that location.

Tesco said their new store would employ about 200 full and part-time staff, and a Facebook page entitled “I Want a Tesco Hadleigh Suffolk” has messages from residents who say they would welcome the jobs the store would provide.

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But retail academic Alan George Hallsworth, objecting on behalf of Hands Off Hadleigh, said: “The promise of new jobs has great emotional appeal but any that do emerge will be at Tesco, and all the job losses will be at rival stores and their local suppliers.”

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