Newmarket: Bigger Tesco store and brand new Morrisons approved for town

Artist impression of new Tesco in Newmarket

Artist impression of new Tesco in Newmarket - Credit: Archant

A bigger Tesco store and a Morrisons supermarket have been given the go ahead in a west Suffolk town.

At a meeting today, Forest Heath District councillors followed officers’ recommendations by granting approval for a replacement Tesco supermarket at its current location in Fordham Road as well as a Morrisons in Exning Road.

But the development control committee turned down applications for a Sainsbury’s on George Lambton Playing Fields, with a five-screen Odean cinema at the site, and an Asda on land backing on to Rowley Drive.

John Timothy, head of regional corporate affairs at Tesco, said the firm was “very pleased” with the decision.

“We have got thousands of loyal customers in Newmarket and they have told us for a while that whilst they love shopping with us they want to see improvements to the store, a better range and shopping experience and tonight’s planning permission is the first step in delivering that improved shopping trip for them.”

Tesco, working with its development partner Oaks Business Park Ltd, plans to replace the dated existing store with a new 9,870sq m supermarket.

The firm has said it would create 200 new jobs aimed at local people and Newmarket is also set to gain from a package of community benefits, such as highways improvements, valued at more than £1million.

Most Read

Luke Pickering, speaking on behalf of Morrisons and its development partner Simons, said: “We are thrilled that Forest Heath District Council have approved our plans to bring Morrisons to Newmarket.

“This shows how local residents have been listened to by the council throughout the planning application process and we would like to take this opportunity to recognise the phenomenal support that we have received. We look forward to getting involved in the community

and starting on site as soon as possible.”

Michael Van Den Berg, speaking at the meeting on behalf of Morrisons, said nearly all the sales space at the Morrisons store would be dedicated to food so it would complement the town centre, and many quality local jobs would be created.

The meeting heard a petition of 1,100 names and 257 letters had been received in support of the Morrisons application while a petition backing Tesco’s brand new flagship store was signed by more than 3,000 people.

Councillors Michael Jeffreys and Chris Barker raised concerns over the impact of the increase in comparison goods at Tesco on the town centre.

Mr Jeffreys said: “The real problem is the vast increase in comparison goods. It will be a draw away from the High Street.”

The committee concurred with the officers’ report on the Sainsbury’s application “that the critical mass of development at this site would be likely to significantly harm the vitality and viability of the town centre...” and the Asda application, made by Unex Ltd, would be contrary to heritage and horseracing policies.

Stephen Walsh, speaking on behalf of Unex Ltd, disputed the Asda application would contravene horseracing policies and would significantly harm the conservation area and Sainsbury’s argued its store would bring many benefits, including the provision of a cinema and additional housing.