Planned Tesco site flooded

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco last night assured it would take steps to eliminate the flood risk at the site of a proposed store in a Suffolk market town.

Craig Robinson

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco last night assured it would take steps to eliminate the flood risk at the site of a proposed store in a Suffolk market town.

As these pictures show the recent heavy rainfall caused the River Brett in Hadleigh to burst its banks - submerging the nearby allotments and other open space.

Last year Tesco submitted a planning proposal to build a new store on the land close to the river bank at the Brett Works Industrial Estate.


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Campaigners opposed to the development have always said the area is vulnerable to rising water levels and last night said it was a case of “we told you so.”

But Nick Gellatly, regional corporate affairs manager for Tesco in the east of England, said the store plans were part of the solution.

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“We want to make sure our customers and the 200 local people who'll be coming to work, can get in and out of the store easily whatever the weather,” he said. “That's why we've put a lot of energy into working with the Environment Agency to find the right measures to reduce flood risk. And the sooner we get cracking on building the store, the sooner these solutions will be in place.

“They include a plan to raise the building, reduce hard surfaces and to lower the riverside land so that more water will be held away from the building and, most importantly, the people who use it.”

The store proposals include a 3,000 metre square retail unit, a car park for 200 vehicles and the removal of trees and hedgerows.

Supporters believe it will be a welcome boost to the town - creating jobs and encouraging more people to visit - but opponents think it will kill off the local high street, lead to an increase in traffic and be detrimental to the surrounding environment.

John Bloomfield, chairman of the Hadleigh Society, said: “I think it's a case of we told you so. We have always had concerns that the site is vulnerable to flooding and this proves our point.”

Jan Byrne, a member of campaign group Hands off Hadleigh, added: “We were told that floods at the site were a once in a 100 year occurrence but since 1998 it has happened three times - and I have seen the water level higher than it was on Tuesday.

“Not only that but the more hard surfaces that you put down the worse it gets - the run off will be quicker and there will be more of it. This could cause all sorts of problems further down the river at Higham and Stratford St Mary, which already experiences high water levels.”

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