Hadleigh: Tesco plans once again spark fears for town centre trade

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a Tesco store in Hadleigh, which resurfaced last week, have reignited fears for town centre trade should the project get the go-ahead.

A year ago, Babergh councillors threw out the supermarket giant’s plans to put a store on the former Brett Works behind High Street, on the grounds of ‘unsuitable design’.

Although the retailer has changed the store design in the new application it submitted to Babergh last Thursday, those who have campaigned against the supermarket proposal say the bigger concerns about high street trade and traffic have still not been addressed.

Chamber of commerce chairman Roger Bannister said Hadleigh currently had a healthy economy despite the recession, with only one empty town-centre shop. Chamber members fear a new Tesco store could “upset the balance” and have a disastrous effect on town centre trade.

Mr Bannister said: “The retail survey on which the original proposal was based indicated that Hadleigh could support an additional element of retail floor space, but this extra capacity has now been provided by the redevelopment of the BuyRight site (for a Morrisons supermarket), which was re-zoned by Babergh as now being within the defined town centre area.

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“Any further large-scale development will have a devastating and long-term effect on the viability of the High Street, which is an almost fully occupied area with a wide spread of businesses represented.”

Babergh councillor, Brian Riley, shared his concerns adding: “With a Morrisons store planned on the outskirts of town and the Co-op already having been extended, you have to question whether a town this size can really take three supermarkets.”

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But a Tesco spokesman said the development could enhance local trade, adding: “There is only one supermarket in Hadleigh, and an application by Morrison’s which is yet to be decided. Planning experts agree Brett Works site is the best location for any new supermarket. It is close to the town centre with strong links to the High Street - therefore a supermarket here would support and improve local trade.”

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