December 8 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 23, 2013
Supporters of a project for a new superstore, homes and business units, have spoken of their disappointment at the £45million project’s rejection by community leaders.
The scheme for Walton Green at Felixstowe was vetoed in favour of a town centre supermarket site.
One councillor said the 30-acre Walton Green plan, which had a 30,000sq ft Tesco store as its anchor, had “little of merit to recommend it”.
The refusal by Suffolk Coastal councillors was met with delight by those who campaigned vigorously against it, but the scheme had many supporters, including nearly 600 on a Facebook site.
Antony Perkins, of the YES to Tesco in Felixstowe campaign, said: “I am gutted that Tesco hasn’t been approved with how much money they wanted to put into our town.
“Why on earth would they give the go ahead to the store at Railway Approach with no operator – this is madness.
“The road is going to be congestion big time and an accident waiting to happen.
“Building a store at the railway station won’t keep people in Felixstowe.”
Tim Collins, a partner at Bidwells, agents for the Walton Green Partnership, comprising landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, and Tesco, said five years’ work had gone into the project in Walton High Street.
He said: “We are all, of course, incredibly disappointed that the scheme wasn’t approved by the committee.
“We still think that Walton Green delivers a better opportunity for Felixstowe to deliver a new store and a host of other benefits.
“We will think carefully about our next steps and watch to see if, indeed as promised, a brave operator emerges for what we believe is an unviable permission as it stands.”
Tesco do not believe the store at the station will be built because of the costs involved in constructing a “store-on-stilts” with parking beneath, despite the developer Albourne Property saying it will go-ahead and two national grocery retailers are vying to build it.
Whether Tesco will appeal is not known. Opponents believe the approval for one store – which will mean Felixstowe has 110% more supermarket space than the new Local Plan says it needs – will head off a public inquiry.
Roy Gray, of opposition campaign group Walton Felixstowe Community First, said: “We are delighted at the decision – the councillors held a lengthy and very thorough debate, and listened to all the arguments and made a good decision. We would like to thank all the residents and businesses who supported our campaign.”