Sudbury: Homes are rejected for new superstore

A SUPERMARKET’S bid to build a store in west Suffolk has been approved by town planners despite the land in question being designated for housing.

Peter Goodchild, chairman of the planning committee at Sudbury town council, cast the deciding vote in support of Sainsbury’s proposal for a new food store in Cornard Road, Sudbury, after councillors said that it would mean “tearing up’’ the local plan.

During a stormy meeting, town councillor Nigel Bennett said: “We must be seen to be protecting the local plan.

“The land is a brown-field site which has been scrutinized thoroughly and chosen for housing.

“If for the sake of a supermarket we suddenly overturn this, housing developers will see that we are not meeting our housing needs. This means tearing up the local plan when there is a desperate need for housing and affordable homes.

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“I regularly deal with people living in crowded homes who deserve a house of their own in this town.”

Under the local plan, the-derelict site of the former William Armes factory is earmarked for 121 new homes, 35% of which are designated as affordable.

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It was due to be developed after Bovis Homes secured planning permission to build there in 2004, but construction never started.

John Sayers, a town and county councillor, was also critical that houses should be sacrificed for a supermarket.

He said: “This seriously distracts from the ever increasing need for affordable housing which was originally considered appropriate for this site.”

He cited the “working together” document from Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils, which last month stated that the Babergh district was short of 369 affordable homes per annum.

But Independent town councillor Nicki Dixon disagreed insisting the town could not keep building new homes without investment in infrastructure.

She said: “It’s all very well to keep building all these homes in Sudbury but we must have the extra infrastructure. We need more doctors surgeries, more school places and with Tesco currently over-trading a new Sainsbury’s supermarket would provide more jobs and investment in the town.”

Mr Goodchild, who voted to support the supermarket plans, said it was clear in the current housing market that Bovis would make more money from selling to Sainsbury’s than building homes.

If ultimately approved by the district council, the new development, which will compete with Tesco, Waitrose, Somerfield and Aldi in the town, will include a 300-space car park, retail unit and restaurant.

During a public consultation held earlier this year at the Delphi Club, a spokesman from Sainsbury’s said more than 90% of the 400 people who filled out a questionnaire were in favour of a supermarket.

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