Southwold: Chamber of Trade gives cautious backing to Tesco plans
SOUTHWOLD’S Chamber of Trade has given a cautious welcome to plans by supermarket giant Tesco to open a store in the town.
But it said it remained vital that residents and visitors continued to support independent traders.
The EADT revealed last week that Tesco is intending to open an Express store in the former Co-op premises in Queen Street.
It would be the second supermarket in the town, with the Co-op now on the former Somerfield site in the Market Place.
Guy Mitchell, chairman of the Chamber of Trade, said the town was big enough to sustain two supermarkets, but sounded a warning that local traders would need strong support.
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“We welcome any new business to Southwold and we’re pleased that, against the national trend, we don’t have empty shops,” he said.
“Southwold will retain its character and its mix of independent shops as long as customers continue to use them.
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“It’s the customers who make up the fabric of the high street.”
Mr Mitchell, who runs Spots toy shop and Southwold post office, said the chamber’s reaction would be “quite different” if Tesco planned to open a superstore on the edge of town – taking people away from the main shopping strip.
“If Tesco brings more people into the town centre, it will benefit the town,” he said.
The retailer, which is also looking to open stores in Saxmundham, Leiston and Halesworth, said it believed the site would be an “excellent” location for an Express store.