July 25 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The controversial planning application by discount retailer B&M to relax planning restrictions on its store on Ransomes Euro Retail park has been withdrawn from today’s meeting of the borough’s planning committee.
There is now expected to be more negotiations between the retailer and the borough before a new application is submitted.
B&M, which also has a store at Copdock Mill, opened last May in the former Next unit at Ransomes – however council regulations say only bulky goods can be sold from the retail park.
If the company does not get a change in the condition – or removes all the non-bulky items from its shelves – it could eventually face legal action from the authority.
Council officers had said the application should be rejected in a bid to protect the town centre. It said a discount store like B&M – whose chairman is former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy – should look at the former Co-op department store in Carr Street or develop the former Civic Centre site.
However a web poll we ran last week attracted hundreds of hits – and two thirds backed B&M to carry on trading at its current location despite fears it could damage the town centre.
B&M sells goods ranging from tins of baked beans to a double bed and has been expanding rapidly across the country over recent years.
The Liverpool-based chain now has 370 stores and is continuing to expand.
There is no firm indication of what the next move in the stand-off between the company and the borough’s planners might be – or when the issue might be resolved.