Poll: A new Tesco store and a Morrisons supermarket are recommended for Newmarket

Artist impression of new Tesco in Newmarket

Artist impression of new Tesco in Newmarket - Credit: Archant

One new supermarket and an bigger replacement for an existing one look set to get the go ahead.

A new Morrisons store and a bigger Tesco supermarket for Newmarket have both been recommended for approval by planning officers.

Forest Heath councillors will make a decision on planning applications for four supermarkets next Wednesday.

The submitted plans include a Morrisons in Exning Road, a replacement Tesco store at its current location in Fordham Road, a Sainsbury’s on George Lambton Playing Fields, with a five-screen Odeon cinema at the site, and a potential Asda on land backing on to Rowley Drive.

Officers have recommended the Morrisons and Tesco applications are approved but that the Sainsbury’s and Asda applications are turned down.

A report to the committee said: “On the basis that Asda, which is the preferred site in retail terms, is recommended for refusal on heritage and horseracing policy grounds, Morrisons is considered to be the sequentially preferable site out of the other three proposals.”

It went on to say a Morrisons store would have the second lowest individual impact on the town centre, the lowest percentage of comparison goods floorspace and the next best potential, after Asda, to create linked trips to the town centre.

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A report on the Tesco application said there was a “clear and present” need for at least one new food store in Newmarket based on the council’s evidence-based retail studies, and therefore an enlarged Tesco has also been recommended for approval.

A Morrisons spokesman said: “We’re pleased to have taken a positive step towards bringing a Morrisons store to Newmarket. We remain committed to the area and look forward to the next stage of the process.”

And Simon Petar, Tesco’s corporate affairs manager, said, on behalf of Tesco and its development partner Oaks Business Park Ltd: “This is excellent news which takes us a step closer to delivering an outstanding new shopping choice for Newmarket and with it, the creation of 200 jobs aimed at local people.

“The fact that officers believe our plans should go ahead is a real boost to our many loyal customers and staff. Ultimately, it will be the development control committee that makes the final decision and we look forward to their deliberations next Wednesday.”

Mr Petar also confirmed that if planning permission is granted, Newmarket stands to gain from a package of related highways and transport improvements and community benefits valued at more than £1 million.

A report on the Sainsbury’s application said officers remained concerned “that the critical mass of development on this site would be likely to significantly harm the vitality and viability of the town centre...”

But Sainsbury’s argues the scheme would bring many benefits, including the provision of a cinema and additional housing.

Officers felt the Asda application, which has been submitted by the Unex Group, would be contrary to heritage and horseracing policies.

Bill Gredley, chairman of the Unex Group, has previously disputed the proposal would contravene horseracing policies.