Official proposals handed in for Tesco

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco officially handed in its proposals to build a major new store in a north Suffolk town yesterday.

Craig Robinson

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco officially handed in its proposals to build a major new store in a north Suffolk town yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Waveney District Council confirmed they had received a planning application for the Angel Link site in Halesworth.

The store, which would measure 22,000 square metres, is slightly smaller than the one in nearby Beccles and is expected to generate around 200 jobs.

The plans have been in the pipeline for the best part of a year and a public exhibition detailing the proposals was held in October.

The store - which would also offer free car parking for up to three hours - has been reduced in height by 1.2m and has been designed to blend in with the rural nature of the area.

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Views from the town centre and Blyth Valley will also be preserved and it will not be visible from London Road.

Tesco also owns land in The Thoroughfare and if the new plans are given the green light there is an agreement to set aside money to help build a community centre on that site or another location.

The EADT revealed on Saturday that Tesco would be handing in a planning application.

The news has provoked strong local reaction from members of the public - both for and against the development.

Posting on the EADT website Richard Nichols said: “I was proactive in the Halesworth regeneration project between 2002-4 and would like to point out that approval of such a store would wipe out years of careful building of both small businesses and community values.

“This proposal would in fact reduce freedom of choice as many family concerns in Halesworth and the surrounding villages, which are striving to earn a living and retain that unique 'market town' atmosphere, would be lost forever.

“The proverbial playing field is far from level and it is time that big businesses were given a stern reminder that they should not dictate what is best to us all.”

Tamsyn Imison added: “As residents of Halesworth we support our excellent small specialist shops and the beautiful pedestrian precinct. We are appalled that Tesco has now submitted its plans.

“Halesworth is not like Beccles and should not be compared with it - it is a far smaller town and therefore the impact of a Tesco in Beccles cannot be compared with siting one in our town which is already well served by the Co-op.”

But Mr Straight-Forward said: “I can see the point being made but its all about saving money in this present day's climate. So if Tesco provide a good product at a reduced price than that of smaller shops, I say bring it on!”

Barry Gould, a professional photographer working in Halesworth, added: “The town centre desperately needs some investment and rejuvenation.

“Tesco will bring people back into what is now a dead town centre. The majority of people want to see Tesco in the town and would welcome the new jobs and value shopping we all want.”

A spokeswoman for Waveney District Council said planning chiefs would hopefully make a decision on the development by August 16.