Shoppers support supermarket expansion

ALMOST 500 shoppers have today backed Tesco's £1 million out of town expansion on the edge of Stowmarket - despite independent traders fears it will turn their community into a ghost town.

ALMOST 500 shoppers have today backed Tesco's £1 million out of town expansion on the edge of Stowmarket - despite independent traders fears it will turn their community into a ghost town.

Mid Suffolk District Council is considering whether to grant planning permission for the retail giant to develop its operation on the large Cedars Park estate, where hundreds of new homes have been built.

The extension at the site in the middle of a major new housing development is expected to create more than 50 new jobs at the store, which wants to offer a wider range in areas including books, clothing and toys.

Members of Cedars Park Residents' Association asked shoppers at the site recently what they thought of the plans and within four hours they had collected more than 480 signatures.


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Roger Willison-Gray, chairman of the association, said he believed there is clear support among residents of the estate and surrounding villages for improvements to the supermarket.

Frank Whittle, one of the mid Suffolk district councillors who represents Stowmarket who helped collect support for the petition, said: “We did excellent to get all these signatures, they were from surrounding villages, Needham Market, and the town, and Tesco's were really made up.

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“When all is said and done they are not putting anything in that will damage the town and this extension will provide better facilities, new foods that Bury and Ipswich stores have.

“The aisles are being widened which will be better for wheelchair users and this is the only business at Cedars Park at the moment, serving locals.

“This development was put up as a village outside Stowmarket originally. You can't dictate to people where to shop and competition is good, it helps to keep prices down.”

Stowmarket Town Council has called for the planning application to be refused and traders are also worried.

Pam Shepherd, who owns of Tuckers independent sandwich bar with her husband Paul, said smaller independents are needed. She is worried the community has become a ghost town and it has become harder and harder for small businesses to survive.

Mid Suffolk District Council are now expected to debate the superstore expansion plans next month.

What do you think of the expansion plans? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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