Traders voice fears over possible impact of new superstore

FELIXSTOWE: Town centre traders are today preparing to go to into battle to stop a massive new Tesco superstore opening amid fears it could cause shops to close.

Proposals have been drawn up for a 30,000 sq ft supermarket for Walton – about 25 per cent bigger than the Morrisons store on the town’s Cavendish Park estate.

Businesses though, believe the project – which it is claimed could create 250 to 300 new jobs – will hit not just shops in the area, but also those in the centre of Felixstowe.

Andrew Rowdon, chairman of Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “We would presume that the majority of jobs it is claimed will be created will be through the employment of staff at the new Tesco store proposed.

“We are concerned that the majority of these jobs will be part-time and unskilled.

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“There is greater concern that a store of the size proposed will be selling far more than groceries and this is likely to have a significant impact on the individual businesses along Hamilton Road.

“There is a real prospect that those businesses will close at the expense of jobs and the chamber is therefore concerned that there will be no new jobs overall and a change in the nature of the jobs which are available from full-time work to part-time work.”

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Significant investment had been made to create the new shared space shopping area in Hamilton Road.

Traders welcomed proposals for new homes – 475 on fields either side of Walton High Street – but say the supermarket should only be as big as the Tesco in the town centre, a neighbourhood store to serve the new estates.

Anna Sabine, for the Walton Green Partnership, said: “We are keen to begin an ongoing process of consultation about our ideas in order to clarify what we are proposing and encourage feedback from the local community that can help shape development.

“In addition to our website, we propose holding a wider public consultation event in early November, to be followed by a second public event in the new year.

“This is to ensure that views of the local residents, businesses, community and other groups can be taken on board where possible.”

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