Residents oppose supermarket plan
By David LennardRESIDENTS have turned out in force to voice their objections to a plan for a second supermarket in their town.A public meeting was held in Halesworth last night to hear the views of residents on a proposal by Albourne Estates to build a supermarket on land between the town's Thoroughfare and Saxons Way.
By David Lennard
RESIDENTS have turned out in force to voice their objections to a plan for a second supermarket in their town.
A public meeting was held in Halesworth last night to hear the views of residents on a proposal by Albourne Estates to build a supermarket on land between the town's Thoroughfare and Saxons Way.
A scheme for a smaller supermarket on the same site three years ago was only approved following a week-long public inquiry and a High Court case into the inquiry inspector's decision.
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This latest application submitted to Waveney District Council is for a larger store with a gross retail floor space of 2,090 sq m, underground car park and new access route.
More than 120 people attended the public meeting, organised by Halesworth Town Council, and the vast majority of those present were opposed to a large new store on the town centre site.
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Bill Pagan, chairman of the town council was unable to be present, but there was a loud round of applause when a letter he had written expressing his personal opposition to the scheme was read out.
Matthew Whetmore, who runs a delicatessen in Halesworth, said residents faced a stark choice.
“We either have a town centre like we presently have with small independent shops that make the town what it is and help attract tourists and visitors or we have a large supermarket. There is no way we can have both,” he warned.
Jill McFarlane, from Halesworth, said she feared farmers and other suppliers to the independent shops would be badly hit if the supermarket went ahead.
Despite the opposition to the store expressed by many of those present, there were a number of people who spoke in favour of having a second supermarket in the town.
One elderly resident said the reason that small shops closed in Halesworth was that many residents were forced to travel to other towns to do their shopping and she felt a larger supermarket would help prevent this.
Eddie Hyde-Clarke, a member of Halesworth Town Council, also spoke in favour of the proposed new store.
“I believe more people would visit Halesworth and use our small shops if we had better facilities,” he said.
“A new supermarket would also mean local people would not have to visit Lowestoft or other towns to do their main shopping.”
Waveney District Council is likely to consider the planning application at the October meeting of its rural area development control committee.