Leiston: District council land sale could pave way for supermarket

Suffolk Coastal District Council approves plans for new homes in Leiston and Wickham Market

Suffolk Coastal District Council approves plans for new homes in Leiston and Wickham Market - Credit: Archant

A district council is selling off a large piece of land which it says could be developed for shops – including a small supermarket.

Suffolk Coastal has put the site in Leiston on the market and believes it would be ideal for retail.

However whoever buys the land – which can be reached off High Street and Sizewell Road – would still need planning permission for such a development.

It is thought it could be suitable for a small supermarket, although detailed discussions would be needed about the design, management of parking and access to the site.

Robert Whiting, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s cabinet member for resources, said: “The sale of this land offers a great opportunity for an exciting new development, which could be a real boost for Leiston town centre.

“The land, which includes some undeveloped scrubland, is not being fully utilised in its current form.

“This gives a developer the opportunity to create new and useful facilities for the local community, like some much-needed extra shops.”

Most Read

The total size of the site up for grabs is 1.8acres, with the council owning about 1.32acres.

It consists of a car park off High Street, is bordered by an unused builder’s yard to the south and some scrubland and lock-up garages to the north.

It is being marketed jointly with a privately-owned piece of land, which fronts onto Sizewell Road.

In 2009, a study published by Suffolk Coastal revealed there was a shortage of retail space in Leiston.

The council has been off-loading a variety of assets over the last year or so in a bid to save money – with a number transferred to town or parish authorities.

Last year in the face of strong opposition retail giant Tesco abandoned a plan to build a 20,000sq ft supermarket at a site in Abbey Road in the town.

Opponents felt that the out-of-town location was wrong and would take footfall away from the main shopping area, severely damaging trade.

Chris Nichols, of Nichols family butchers, said he would be happy to see a retail development in the town.

But he added: “I wouldn’t want someone to buy it and then just sit on it. Something would need to be done sooner rather than later.”

A spokesman for Tesco said they were aware the land was on the market.

For more details of the council-owned land, contact Gary Lowe on 01394 444717 or at gary.lowe@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk. For the privately-owned land contact Oliver Johnson at Clark & Simpson on 01728 724200.