Lakenheath: Council backs new Tesco store

PLANS to build a supermarket in the heart of a village have been backed by councillors.

Tesco says more than 100 new jobs will be created in Lakenheath by its new store, which has won planning permission from Forest Heath District Council. The decision means the current Matthew’s Nursery site to the north of Dumpling Bridge Lane will be redeveloped.

The scheme will see a 2,039 sq m store put up, the old Matthew’s Nursery shop refurbished and a landscaped area between the shop and the High Street created. Although Lakenheath Parish Council raised no objection to the scheme, the council did receive 12 letters of protest from people in the community raising a variety of concerns, including the impact on other businesses, increased air pollution and traffic concerns.

English Heritage had voiced its concerns about the new store’s impact on what is a conservation area in the village. As a result, Tesco amended its proposals in terms of the materials to be used.

However, in her report to the planning committee, council officer Sarah Drane said the scheme offered “significant economic benefits” and claimed the project’s “impact on the conservation area” was “acceptable”.

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She said although the new store would “undoubtedly impact” on the existing Co-op store, she added: “There is no evidence to suggest that this store would close as a result of the Tesco store opening”.

Committee members supported their officer’s recommendation and approved the scheme.

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Tesco spokesman Michael Kissman said: “We’re delighted councillors supported our plans for a new store in Lakenheath.

“We’re really pleased because following public consultation people told us how much they wanted the store and how it will make their shopping experience more convenient and save them from travelling elsewhere. We’re hoping it will be a busy store.”

Tesco says the planned new store in Lakenheath will be a little larger than its store in Brandon.

A council spokeswoman, speaking after the decision was made, said: “The Tesco store will bring employment plus choice and convenience for consumers.

“Tesco will also be contributing �30,000 towards parking provision and improved bus services in the village.”

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