Thurston: Fears Sainsbury’s store would take village’s identity away

People opposed to plans for a Sainsbury's in the village of Thurston. Left to right, Ryan Summers, I

People opposed to plans for a Sainsbury's in the village of Thurston. Left to right, Ryan Summers, Ian Clements, Barry Jefferson, Sarah Jefferson, Tina Barter, James Cracknell. - Credit: Archant

Proposals for a supermarket in a village would change its identity, those opposed to the plans have said.

Plans have been submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council for a mixed retail/residential development incorporating a Sainsbury’s at Thurston Granary in Station Hill, Thurston.

Shop owners, who are worried the supermarket could put them out of business, have launched a petition against the plans which has been signed by about 500 people.

Objectors feel that a 3,000sq ft Sainsbury’s store is not needed in the village, which is about three miles away from a large Sainsbury’s store.

James Cracknell, manager of Cracknells Garage, which also has a convenience store at the site, believed the Sainsbury’s shop would mean Thurston would lose its village identity. He said: “I don’t think they really have a place in a village environment.”

Barry Jefferson, who owns Thurston post office and stores, said one person had said they worried about the feel of the village being lost “because of the big boys moving in”.

He said at a meeting in the village to discuss the plans that many people felt “the community spirit would be lost”.

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Other concerns include increased traffic on Station Hill and that there is insufficient parking on the Granary site. Thurston Parish Council has also objected to the scheme.

Landowner and applicant John Oldknow said the objections had come out of the blue as the site had been granted outline planning permission a number of years earlier, adding this application was for a revised scheme. He said the convenience store would actually be smaller in size than originally planned.

He also believed there was “more than enough” parking on the site.