Town set for second supermarket

A CONTROVERSIAL second supermarket for a north Suffolk town moved a step closer last night when the company looking to develop the site finally bought the land.

By David Lennard

A CONTROVERSIAL second supermarket for a north Suffolk town moved a step closer last night when the company looking to develop the site finally bought the land.

The site where the new supermarket would be built in Halesworth had been owned by local businessman Geoffrey Quinton.

He said: “I can confirm that the site has now been sold to the developers and that the piece of land has nothing to do with me anymore.”


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It is believed that the developers paid a substantial sum to purchase the land and will now be looking to make further progress with their planning application.

No one from developers Albourne Estates, based in West Sussex, was available yesterday to discuss the purchase of the land.

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In June last year Albourne Estates applied for planning permission for a supermarket in the north Suffolk town that would have a retail floor space of 2,090 square metres.

The proposals also included plans for an underground car park on the site between the town's pedestrianised Thoroughfare and the Saxons Way relief road.

Although various details of the new scheme were presented to Waveney District Council during the past 17 months, planning officers still require extra information before the application can be presented to councillors on the rural area development control committee.

The proposal has split the community with opponents re-forming the group HASSL - Halesworth Against Second Supermarket Lobby - to fight the new plans.

At the same time a significant number of residents have expressed their support for the proposed new store.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said the developers were aware of the information required to enable the application to go before councillors.

In October last year details of proposed changes to the road layout in the area, including new junctions for the supermarket, were released by the developers.

There is already planning permission for a smaller supermarket on the site following a public inquiry held in 2001.

The developers are not revealing the identity of the supermarket chain that would operate the new store if it received planning permission apart from saying it was a “major UK retailer”.

Since details of the latest application were announced in June 2004 supermarket giant Tesco has received planning permission and opened a new store 12 miles away in Beccles.

Halesworth currently has a Rainbow supermarket operated by Anglia Co-operative Society.

Opponents of the proposed new store believe that if the small market town had two supermarkets it would mean that many of the area's small independent shops and suppliers would struggle to survive.

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