An artist's impression of the new Tesco superstore at Walton Green - villagers in Trimley St Mary are worried about the traffic the development will generate.

Felixstowe: New Tesco superstore could persuade people to shop more in town centre

Saturday, February 23, 2013
8.00 AM

SO many people from the resort are now doing their main shop at edge-of-Ipswich superstores, it has become a habit which could wreck the town centre in the long-term.

Town planning and development consultants Alsop Verrill, working on behalf of the Walton Green scheme for Tesco and Trinity College, Cambridge, say it is a trend which a new 30,000sq ft Tesco at the resort could help to reverse.

They claim a new supermarket would claw back money to the resort because it will not stock everything people can currently buy at an out-of-town superstore – creating spin-off benefits because shoppers would then buy other non-food items in Hamilton Road.

In its retail assessment, the company said there is a “clearly emerging trend” showing that those using Felixstowe town centre for their main food shopping are the elderly, those without children and those without cars.

These people would probably stay loyal to their chosen shops even if a superstore was built in Walton High Street.

Families and adults though used Waitrose, Tesco at Martlesham, Sainsbury and Asda – and could be persuaded to shop closer to home.

“A troubling byproduct of more and more people doing their main food shopping significantly away from Felixstowe is the growing familiarity and acclimatisation of this habit and what might be seen as a disinclination to do any or much shopping close to home,” said Alsop Verrill’s report.

“Unless Felixstowe improves its own shopping offer in a way that matches the expectations of people shopping out of town, the drift from local shopping will continue, to the long-term detriment of the town centre and its businesses.”

■ Would you shop in town if you couldn’t get all your shopping at Walton Green Tesco? Add your comments below . . .