Residents gather for aerial photo protest

HUNDREDS of protesters gathered in a Suffolk town to voice their concerns about plans for a new Tesco superstore.

The Hands Off Hadleigh group organised the event which resulted in people posing for an aerial photograph at the River Brett site in the town, which is at the centre of the controversial plans.

They wanted to show their concerns about access and safety.

Organisers of Saturday’s event said more than 400 people gathered, many with banners in hand, in the Bridge Street car park to show their opposition to the choice of site, where access is planned to be on a bend on a listed bridge, across the town’s allotments and wet grassland that is of ecological significance.

Despite soaring temperatures, residents turned out in force to the delight of organisers who had been concerned after Babergh District Council cancelled a special planning meeting at the last minute.

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The photo was meant to coincide with the council’s meeting of the planning committee to consider the Tesco application on July 14.

But the meeting has been delayed because Babergh is seeking legal advice on environmental issues affecting the application.

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It has been confirmed the earliest date the application will now be considered is in September.

Mike Pearson, spokesman for Hands Off Hadleigh, thanked the crowds for showing their support.

He said: “The fact so many of you have supported today’s event, despite the heat and the cancellation of the Babergh Planning Committee meeting, demonstrates we do not want a Tesco on this site.

“If there are still serious environmental issues, 12 years after the first of numerous applications by Tesco, it is clear the site is not suitable and this application should be withdrawn.

“We don’t care if it’s Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Somerfield, Co-op or Asda.

“We don’t want any supermarket on the River Brett site.”

The plans submitted to Babergh District Council by Tesco are for a 2,500 square metre supermarket.

The application includes plans associated with access, servicing, landscaping, relocation of part of the council’s car park and neighbouring allotments, the removal of trees and hedgerows.

Despite Saturday’s protest, there are other people in the town who are keen for the store to be built. They think it would add welcome competition and attract shoppers who would otherwise go to superstores in Ipswich or Sudbury.

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