Tesco plans attacked by councillors

COUNCILLORS have described designs for a new supermarket planned for north Suffolk as an “airport terminal”, “factory” and “greenhouse” - before deferring decisions on its future.

COUNCILLORS have described designs for a new supermarket planned for north Suffolk as an “airport terminal”, “factory” and “greenhouse” - before deferring decisions on its future.

Members of Waveney District Council's planning committee this week strongly criticised the artistic impressions of Tesco's plans for the former Clowes printing works and Durrants auction premises in Beccles.

Planning officers had advised putting back the decision over the building's design and awaiting advice from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, but recommended that access arrangements for George Westwood Way be given the go-ahead.

But councillors agreed to defer both items and asked Tesco to come back with a better design for an old market town and improved pedestrian access to the site, which lies between Newgate and Gresham Road.

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Councillor Brian Woodruff said: “It looks like Terminal Four, Heathrow. Supermarkets all look the same.

“This should either go onto a Greenfield site or an out-of-town shopping centre. This does not relate to an old market town such as Beccles.

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“It will be a total eyesore compared to the rest of the town and it will ruin it.”

He added: “I would like to see some sort of control for pedestrians and I don't think this is good enough for the nearby residents.

“Tesco are not interested in attracting shopper from Beccles, they want to attract traffic into the town.”

Chairman Morris Rose said it looked like another “factory” whilst councillor Jack Walmsley added: “It would be a tragedy if we allowed this “greenhouse” to be built.”

Meanwhile, Bob Leonard, senior development control officer from Suffolk County Council, answered heated questions over pedestrian access.

They included three pedestrian crossing points - one a beacon island in George Westwood Way, another where the Gresham Road footway crosses the new road into the site, and the final one across the western part of Gresham Road, completing a footpath from Caxton Road to the east side of George Westwood Way.

Mr Leonard said the council had made their recommendations to approve the layout in light of the worst possible traffic scenario but Councillor Michael Ladd said the priority of the pedestrians must be of the highest priority and thought the plans didn't go far enough.

But Rob Posselt, planning agent for Tesco, said the supermarket chain understood the community and had built in communities like Beccles.

He added: “The proposed design is a vast improvement on the existing buildings on the site and has been developed with sensitivity for nearby residential properties.

“Whilst still contemporary in nature, the building design and inclusion of a “piazza” moves away from the standard Tesco store, providing something that is unique to Beccles.”

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