Fight continues on supermarket plan

By David LennardCAMPAIGNERS who fought an unsuccessful battle to try to stop a second supermarket being opened in their town are hoping the proposed site will be developed for community use.

By David Lennard

CAMPAIGNERS who fought an unsuccessful battle to try to stop a second supermarket being opened in their town are hoping the proposed site will be developed for community use.

Plans for a second supermarket in Halesworth divided residents, with some fearing it would mean the market town would lose many of its small independent shops that help attract visitors to the area.

Campaign group HASSL (Halesworth Against Second Supermarket Lobby) was formed and it conducted a survey that revealed 70% of residents were against the proposed store.

But other surveys showed there were more people in favour of the supermarket, planned for a site between The Thoroughfare and the Saxon Way relief road.

The supermarket was eventually given the go-ahead following a planning inquiry in 2001 and an unsuccessful High Court challenge by HASSL in 2002.

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However, no supermarket has yet opened on the site and the company behind the project, Wyncote Developments, refused to say which national chain was interested in moving into Halesworth to compete with the existing Rainbow superstore, operated by Anglia Co-operative Society.

But a spokesman for the developers has previously said it was not unusual for a “considerable period of time” to pass before a supermarket moved on to a particular site.

However, HASSL members are still hoping to see the site developed for community use with a mix of small retail units.

Paddy Flegg, a member of Halesworth Town Council and Waveney District Council, added: “We have not forgotten the supermarket site.

“The developer has the option until the end of January 2004 and so far no supermarket has shown any interest.

“We hope, therefore, it can be used for our much-needed centre for the community together with commercial input.”

Wyncote Developments were not available to comment on the situation yesterday, although it will have an opportunity to extend its option on the site for a further year.

A spokesman for HASSL said: “The developers still have first option on the site, although we do take heart that in more than two years there has been no announcement about a supermarket chain being interested in taking it on.”

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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