May 25 2013 Latest news:
BY RICHARD CORNWELL
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
COMMUNITY leaders have reacted with horror after being told that Felixstowe’s town centre Tesco Metro may only remain open for five years if the company’s superstore project is approved.
Tesco is willing to sign a legal agreement guaranteeing that if the plans for the 30-acre Walton Green development are given the go-ahead the Hamilton Road store will stay open for a minimum of five years.
Town councillors are deeply worried – and fear closure could leave a huge hole in the town centre.
The Tesco Metro is one of the biggest shops in Hamilton Road, helping to attract people to shop in the town.
The town council – which is recommending refusal of the superstore in Walton High Street – have written to Suffolk Coastal to say closure of the Tesco Metro would be a “serious loss to the town”.
Councillor Mike Stokell said the closure of the popular store would have a “devastating impact” on the footfall in the town centre and would be a very big shop to fill with a new business.
Tesco expects £1.76million of its turnover from the Hamilton Road shop to be diverted to its new superstore. By 2017, the Metro shop would be trading 35pc below company average takings.
The company’s retail consultants Alsop Verrill said: “We would expect both the Tesco Metro and Co-operative stores to continue to trade with no diminution to the service they offer to shoppers or with significant adverse effect on the retail health of the town centre.
“Our assessment shows that the other convenience goods shops in the town centre will barely be affected, largely because of their specialist roles.”
It is understood Tesco felt five years was a reasonable time to guarantee in the changing world of retail and when looking forward for a business.
A spokesman for Tesco said the store in Hamilton Road would remain open.