Supermarket moves a step closer

A SUPERMARKET chain could be a step closer to having a store in a market town after the site it proposed to build on has been proposed as the best for development.

A SUPERMARKET chain could be a step closer to having a store in a market town after the site it proposed to build on has been proposed as the best for development.

Babergh District Council's strategy committee has recommended to the council that the Brett Works site should be included on its local plan as the better place for a supermarket in Hadleigh, ahead of a planning inquiry in the autumn.

Tesco has recently submitted a planning application to the council for a store on the site, which is next to the High Street's main shopping area. It first applied for planning permission for the site in 1999, but was turned down by the council and subsequently lost its appeal against the decision after a planning inquiry.

The inquiry inspector said Hadleigh needed more food retail shopping and the site fitted Government guidelines for supermarkets in town centres but he withheld approval from Tesco because of some concerns regarding access and design.

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Tesco has now returned with a revised plan, but there has been strong opposition from residents and the Hadleigh Society, which prefers the Buyright site in Calais Street.

Sue Carpendale, committee chairman, said that after last week's meetingit would be recommending that the Brett Works location appear on the local plan rather than the Buyright site.

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She said the reasons for this were the opposition from individuals, a strong objection from GOEast and the Government planning policy statements.

She added that the committee had made a distinction between the local plan and the application from Tesco's, which would be considered on its own merits.

"We are well aware of the strength of local feeling about not wanting the Brett Works site and allegedly preferring the Buyright site for a supermarket but we are mindful of the impositions on where it can go by Government sources.

"When you consider the impact of public inquiry costs, Strategy has taken what responsible course open to it."

She added: "Wherever you go in Hadleigh, quite honestly, there is not an ideal site for a supermarket."

Roy Smith, chairman of the Hadleigh Supermarket Support Group, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the decision and I am sure the majority of Hadleigh will feel the same."

The council will consider the recommendation on February 26.

Meanwhile Waitrose is believed to be making a bid to build a store in Ipswich on land currently occupied by the borough council's multi-story civic centre.

The council is believed to be considering a move to new offices near Suffolk County Council's new headquarters in Ipswich Village because its premises on Civic Drive need a multi-million pound refurbishment within the next five years.

Ipswich council's corporate director Laurence Collins said: "We would certainly like to be able to attract a company of its calibre - it would be a big boost for the town centre and act like a magnet to draw people in here. But there are no firm plans yet - we expect to make a recommendation to the council's executive committee by the middle of February."

A spokesman for Waitrose, part of the John Lewis group, said: "We are looking at about 500 sites across the country and we are certainly keen to move into the Ipswich areas. We will not comment on individual sites until the negotiations are complete and a deal finalised."

Plans 10 years ago to build a supermarket on garden nursery land at Westerfield Road in Ipswich were rebuffed by the council and the Government following a public inquiry.

Waitrose has stores in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, and Sudbury.

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