December 21 2014 Latest news:
An artist's impression of the view of the new Walton Green Tesco at Felixstowe from Walton High Street, showing the cafe and part of the community building - plans are expected later this month or early January.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
SO the race to build Felixstowe’s next superstore is under way.
GLAD the Duchess of Cambridge has been released from hospital after her morning sickness.
When my wife Rachel was pregnant with son-the-elder she was truly the champion chunderer, suffering terrible sickness for months – we had a map of where she vomited around Felixstowe. Driving round Dock Gate Two roundabout still brings back unpleasant memories.
Several days she threw up more than 20 times. She was still being sick while in labour – and during the actually delivery!
However, 22 years ago no one sent her to hospital – perhaps that was because our first born was not going to be king or queen – and all she was prescribed was dry toast, dried cornflakes, ginger biscuits and plenty of flat Coca Cola.
Will we get one or two, or none at all? If the Albourne Property scheme is accepted for Railway Approach, will that automatically mean the veto for Tesco at Walton Green?
As they both provide twice as much supermarket floorspace as the resort needs – according to Suffolk Coastal’s policy for the next 15 years – should both be rejected?
Walton Green is, of course, against policy, while the railway land is brownfield and much the better option for development, but neither makes the outcome a dead cert. Over the next few months all these points will be hotly debated, and it really is quite a complex issue.
The core of the argument will be the impact on the town centre and shops in Walton.
While there is strong opposition, there are just as many people writing on social websites that competition is good for shops and as customers they want more variety and choice in Felixstowe without having to drive to Martlesham and Ipswich.
A Tesco in Walton may reduce footfall in Hamilton Road because it will hit Tesco, Co-op and Iceland, but if you want to buy a gift or secondhand book, visit a charity shop or get clothing or shoes, pop into the bank, opticians or library, then you will still visit the town.
Both projects are making the same argument for their existence – that it will mean people will not have to travel out of town to shop, and they will end up spending more in local shops by staying at home.
I would say the first part of the case is correct – I would certainly prefer not to drive to Tesco at Martlesham every fortnight to do my main shop, and as long as the superstore stocks everything I buy at my big shop (smoked Bavarian cheese with ham in it is the test) then I will be happy.
But the second part of the argument is utter drivel. Why would not travelling to Asda/Tesco/Waitrose/Sainsbury make you spend more in local shops? We buy our meat, milk, eggs, fruit and many other items in local shops already – and that will not change. We won’t spend more just because Tesco is in Walton rather than Martlesham.
Local shops in Walton will suffer because of the convenience, and initially novelty, of a Tesco in High Road, but the town centre won’t, and the real losers will be Co-op and Morrisons.