Tesco plans to go to public inquiry

CONCERNED residents fearing their market town could be engulfed by an extended superstore will have the chance to voice their protest at a public inquiry.

CONCERNED residents fearing their market town could be engulfed by an extended superstore will have the chance to voice their protest at a public inquiry.

Plans by retail giants Tesco to double the size of its store in Sudbury were met with widespread worry among the local community - fearing an estimated £4 million a year could be lost from the town centre.

But now an inquiry into the controversial proposals will be held next month - a decision welcomed by community leaders last night.

Sudbury mayor Lesley Ford-Platt said: “I think with any out-of-town shops, there is always going to be a worry about the impact of independent traders.


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“And in Sudbury, there is a lot of concern from traders about their town centre and the town council will be watching these developments closely.

“The whole purpose of a planning inquiry is to give people the opportunity to go along and make their representations.”

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Town councillor Nick Irwin added: “I think the public inquiry has got to be a good thing and it certainly shows Tesco can't just railroad their way through.

“I have been a resident of the town for about 25 years and I saw the impact on the town centre when Tesco first opened.

“Now it wants to double its size, I believe it will have a tremendously detrimental affect on the town centre. The vitality of the town relies on the quality and variety of independent shops in the town centre. I would urge people to attend the inquiry and make their views known.”

Babergh District Council gave approval to the extension, which will provide 60 jobs, and will allow the supermarket giants to use more than a third of its store selling non-food products.

The plans led to estimates that Sudbury's town centre could lose £130,000 in annual trade once the work for Tesco was completed on the outskirts of the town.

It prompted independent retailers to call for greater help to protect them against their superstore counterpart and for a change in the way business rates are administered - after claims that the out of town store would benefit over smaller town centre shops.

Speaking last month , Ian Berry, partner of Kestrel Bookshop, said: “People are concerned and we feel more should be done to help small shops.

“This extension at Tesco is going to affect so many shops and some have already closed. We get a lot of people coming into the shop just to have a look around but if there is no reason to visit the town centre people won't make the effort and independent stores will continue to close.”

The inquiry will be held at Babergh's headquarters in Hadleigh on December 13 from 10am.

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