Supermarket campaigners suffer new blow
By David LennardCAMPAIGNERS hoping a site in the centre of Halesworth could be used for a much-needed community centre have suffered a setback.The site off the town's Thoroughfare was the subject of a controversial plan from Wyncote Developments to build a second supermarket in the market town.
By David Lennard
CAMPAIGNERS hoping a site in the centre of Halesworth could be used for a much-needed community centre have suffered a setback.
The site off the town's Thoroughfare was the subject of a controversial plan from Wyncote Developments to build a second supermarket in the market town.
It was fought by many of the town's small independent traders, backed by both the town and district council and Suffolk Coastal MP, John Gummer.
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But permission for the proposed development was given following a public inquiry held at the end of 2001 and confirmed by the High Court the following year.
Wyncote Developments said there had been plenty of interest in the site from some of the country's largest supermarket chains, but so far there has been no sign of a new store opening.
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Campaign group Halesworth Against Second Supermarket Lobby (HASSL) hoped the lack of activity could mean its proposal for smaller retail units and a much-needed community centre on the site could be revived.
In an open letter to residents earlier this month, Paddy Flegg, a Halesworth town Waveney district councillor, said: “The developer has the option until the end of January 2004 and so far no supermarket has shown any interest.
“We hope, therefore, it can be used for our much-needed centre for the community with commercial input.”
However, representatives of the site owners and developers confirmed yesterday the existing planning permission for a supermarket on the site would be renewed.
“We have the forms with us and are in the process of signing and sending them to the district council,” said a spokesman.
“It is not unusual for sites such as this to take some time before a new store is built, but we remain convinced that a new supermarket will be opening there.”
The spokesman added as the site was close to the centre of Halesworth, it was “perfect” for a retail unit that would help attract more people to the town.
“I believe that it would be more appropriate for a community centre to be built on land in Halesworth that is not at the heart of the shopping area,” he said.