Tesco and Co-op clash in Suffolk town

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco was last night accused of delaying a rival store's expansion plans in a Suffolk town while it continues to draw up its own proposals.

Craig Robinson

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco was last night accused of delaying a rival store's expansion plans in a Suffolk town while it continues to draw up its own proposals.

Waveney District Council was due to make a decision on whether to grant permission for an extension of the Co-op's Rainbow Foodstore in Halesworth last week.

But following a letter from Tesco - which has recently submitted plans to build a new supermarket on the town's Angel Link site - the decision has been deferred.

Last night Philip Taylor, spokesman for Anglia Co-Op, said they could not understand why their own application was not decided.

“We don't see why our plans have been delayed,” he said. “We see no reason why it couldn't have been determined. The local authority has been fully aware of the Tesco proposals for Halesworth for a long time and our own plans were submitted two or three months back.

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“The Tesco application is lacking lots of information and predominately submitted, we believe, to get ours deferred. We are very disappointed.”

But Nick Gellatly, from Tesco, said: “Lots of local people in and around Halesworth want improved food shopping choice. They've said they'd like to see a new store in town and already drive to Beccles because they like what is on offer at Tesco.

“Our plans have been in the pipeline for some time, and have been widely welcomed. We submitted them after working hard to get the detail right and to reflect feedback from our consultation - we wrote to the council requesting a delay in the Co-op decision so that councillors could look at the benefits of both proposals together.”

A spokeswoman for Waveney District Council said the application has been delayed because the authority needed to consider all the information put before it.

“A letter referring to additional, detailed information was received on Friday, May 15 and could not have been adequately assessed by officers or members prior to the committee sitting,” she said. “Therefore, the only appropriate course of action was to defer consideration of the application until the available information has been properly assessed.”