Saxmundham: Tesco pledges commitment to town

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco says it is “fully committed” to its new Saxmundham store despite proposals to open another outlet nearby.

Plans go on display this weekend for the 20,000 sq ft Leiston superstore, which is expected to create 200 jobs.

But the company says the proposals will not affect its Saxmundham enterprise, which it expects to begin building early next summer.

It comes as Waitrose joined the race to bolster supermarket provision in east Suffolk. The upmarket chain has revealed plans to increase its Saxmundham store by a fifth.

Marian Andrews, vice-chairman of Saxmundham Town Council, asked whether there was a need for two Tesco stores within four-and-a-half miles of each other.

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Cllr Andrews, who also represents the town on Suffolk Coastal District Council, said: “There’s a lot of concern [about the Leiston store] particularly as Tesco have already got their planning permission for Saxmundham. I would therefore like to know why they want to build another in Leiston.

“I’m aware that’s a superstore, but an explanation of why they want something within four-and-a-half miles of Saxmundham would be useful.”

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Tesco’s and Waitrose’s proposals will both be on display this weekend.

Plans for the new Leiston store will be shown at Leiston United Church, High Street, today and tomorrow, while Waitrose’s extension scheme will be showcased at its store from today to December 3.

Louise Gosling, Tesco corporate affairs manager, said: “We are fully committed to Saxmundham and we always have been. We are delighted to have got consent and we are finalising details on how we can move forward.”

Paul Reeley, manager at Waitrose Saxmundham, said: “The proposed investment demonstrates our long-term commitment to Saxmundham and our confidence in the town’s future as a vibrant shopping destination.”

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