Leiston: Tesco urged to ‘go back to the drawing board’

BUSINESS chiefs have urged a retail giant to go back to the drawing board and come up with another set of plans for a supermarket in their town.

Tesco announced last month that it wanted to open a 20,000 sq ft store in Abbey Road, Leiston, next to Jewson.

Around 50 members from the town’s business association met with the company’s representatives on Tuesday night to find out more details about the controversial scheme.

The main concern centred around the impact the proposed store’s location - which is away from the High Street - would have on traders.

The fear is that the position will draw shoppers away from the town centre.

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Jonny Newton, chairman of the Leiston Business Association, said: “The majority of people at the meeting were against Tesco being on that site.

“The location needs to be looked at again with a view to somewhere closer to the centre of town. At the moment its very difficult to see any benefits to the High Street. That is a huge concern.

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“A more appropriate solution would be a site that would keep footfall in the town centre.

“The fear is that because it is on the outskirts it will lead to less business in the High Street. Tesco need to go back to the drawing board.”

The EADT has been contacted by many residents who are strongly against Tesco’s plans and believe it will destroy their town.

However the retail giant claim the proposed development - which would also include a business park large enough for six units - will generate around 200 jobs.

Bosses also say it is close enough for people to walk in to the town centre, therefore generating more visitors for the High Street.

They have pledged to engage with local residents and to continue to consult with the business community before finalising the proposals and submitting a planning application to Suffolk Coastal District Council at the end of January.

Louise Gosling, Tesco corporate affairs manager, has said previously many people are in favour of a new supermarket.

“Local people have told us they want more jobs and investment brought to the town, as well as the convenience a new store would bring,” she said.

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