Hadleigh says no to Tesco

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco was issued with a blunt “stay away” message from an estimated 700 protesters during a rally in a Suffolk town.

John Howard

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco was issued with a blunt “stay away” message from an estimated 700 protesters during a rally in a Suffolk town.

The demonstration was held in Hadleigh on Saturday by residents who fear the firm's proposals for a new superstore could sound the death knell for its High Street and damage the environment.

Tesco responded to the rally by insisting there still a lot of support for its proposals in the town, on the banks of the River Brett.

The march came just days after the supermarket giant announced profits of £2.85billion, which sparked fears about the impact the firm was having on smaller High Street retailers.

One of those marching on Saturday, Jan Devey, told the EADT: “I have dressed as the grim reaper because I think they will have this impact on our high street, as they have in very many other areas.

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“It is about time we stood up and were counted, we do not have to assume that Tesco will come here. I think this store would close our independent retailers.”

Plans have been submitted to Babergh District Council for a 3,055 square metre retail operation, along with a second site of 142 square metres.

The proposed store will be located immediately opposite a nature reserve on the River Brett which residents say is home to a range of flora and fauna including wild iris and water lilies, as well as a variety of insects and birds.

John Bloomfield, chairman of the Hadleigh Society, said: “It is not only the riverside wildlife that is under threat.

“The River Walk in Hadleigh is enjoyed by both local residents and many visitors. It plays a major part in everyday life for families in the town and there is widespread concern that a new Tesco will spoil the tranquillity of the river walk and the nature reserve.

“This will destroy the centre of town if it goes ahead. It's time this stopped. Our message to Tesco and our district councillors is enough is enough.”

Kathryn Grandon, Hadleigh resident and mother-of-two, claimed: “The 24-hour lighting, along with the noise and traffic pollution of thousands of cars a day will have an impact upon the wildlife on both sides of the river and will greatly increase traffic in and out of the town, especially in the historic High Street.”

But a spokesman for Tesco said: “You very rarely get a pro-superstore march through a town with placards, but we know there is a lot of support in the town for the store.

“If it is not wanted, no-one will shop there and we will go away fairly quickly, but that has never happened.”

While many residents reject the idea of another supermarket in Hadleigh all together, a number are open to the suggestion of an alternative location. And others welcome the move, arguing that it will bring cheaper food for families.