Tesco plan no laughing matter for TV star Griff

A RENOWNED comedian and TV presenter will visit a Suffolk market town this morningto discuss controversial proposals for a new Tesco.

Anthony Bond

A RENOWNED comedian and TV presenter will visit a Suffolk market town this morningto discuss controversial proposals for a new Tesco.

Griff Rhys Jones will meet with Hadleigh Town Council to look at the proposal by the supermarket giant to build a new store at the Brett Works Industrial Estate.

The visit by the comedian, who lives near Holbrook, follows an article he wrote in a national newspaper on Sunday in which he called for local pockets of resistance to battle to protect Britain's threatened townscapes.

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Speaking to the EADT last night, Mr Rhys Jones said: “I do not think that Tesco is a bad thing but it needs to be aware that everybody is thinking of it as a bad thing because it wants to put Tesco stores in the wrong places in towns.

“I would say lets find out what is going on and talk about it and see what people really want and see if there is a site for a Tesco. Let's see where the best place is so we do not bring lots of cars into the centre of Hadleigh because Hadleigh is probably not going to benefit from that.

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“Let's make sure that some of the qualities that make Hadleigh a beautiful place are not sacrificed in the name of convenience.”

Mr Rhys Jones also said people in the town have the power to affect the development.

“What I am there to do is to get everybody aware of what is going on,” he said. “There is an inquiry coming up and what they allow you to do is register with the planner what you think of the plan. Under these circumstances if enough people protest and they have a cogent enough argument it will affect the plans, but if nobody makes a protest and nothing happens and there is no public interest in it, then on the whole the planners will say 'go ahead'.

“We do have a responsibility as citizens to show interest in the look and feel of the place that we live.”

Carol Bailey, Hadleigh Town Council clerk, said she wrote to Mr Rhys Jones more than two years ago after seeing his Restoration TV programmes.

“We are just hoping that someone with a bit of clout may make people realise that it is not what we want,” she said. “Everybody is saying that we are not opposed to a supermarket but it is where they want to put it. We want to save that part of Hadleigh.”

Supporters believe it will be a vital boost to the town - creating jobs and encouraging more people to visit. However opponents think it will kill off the local high street, lead to an increase in traffic and be detrimental to the surrounding environment.

Tesco also says the store will include things like Suffolk pink cladding instead of brick work and timber reflecting the local heritage - designed specifically for Hadleigh.

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