Felixstowe: Residents ready to take on the might of Tesco to stop superstore

OBJECTORS claimed today that a new Tesco superstore on the edge of Felixstowe could take up to �750,000 a week from the town centre.

They are stepping up their campaign to stop the supermarket giant opening a 30,000 sq ft store and claim it could cut jobs if shops close rather than create the 250-plus promised.

Families worried at the impact a massive store could have are showing their support by putting posters in their windows and placards in their gardens.

A new action group has now been formed – called Walton Felixstowe Community First (WFCF) – with members representing various groups and organisations, and supported by two planning consultants.

The Walton Green Partnership, the team behind the supermarket and 350 homes project, will next week show off its latest plans as it prepares to make a planning application to Suffolk Coastal.

Mary Wyatt, spokeswoman for WFCF, said: “There is simply not the need for a development of this scale. Tesco will therefore be taking business from existing businesses and supermarkets in the town.

“A store of the size for the Walton site would expect a turnover of �750,000 a week to be viable in its own terms. The question is where does this turnover come from?

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“Only a limited proportion will come from the minority of residents who now choose to go outside the Felixstowe area to shop. The remainder will come from the turnover of existing local businesses. Can you imagine the impact on the town centre of falling turnovers of up to �750,000 a week?”

However, the developers, Walton Green Partnership, say 23 per cent of people in the town and Trimley villages currently travel to superstores around Ipswich for their food shopping and the new store would encourage them to shop in Felixstowe

A survey found around a quarter of people said Felixstowe didn’t have a large enough food store.

Even 21pc of those who shopped at Morrisons said that store was too small.

“We consider that the information gathered by the telephone survey and then analysed, constitutes powerful testament to a substantial ‘qualitative’ need for a new retail foodstore in Felixstowe,” said a spokeswoman for the Walton Green Partnership.

“There is no better site than Walton Green for a store that offers a wider range of goods and that allows local residents to do their weekly shop in Felixstowe.

“A new foodstore in Walton would not stop people visiting the shops in Felixstowe. In fact, the 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.”