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Walton Green: Options considered for Tesco store site

PUBLISHED: 12:09 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:33 10 February 2014

A computer-generated image of the Tesco superstore proposed for Walton Green at Felixstowe.

A computer-generated image of the Tesco superstore proposed for Walton Green at Felixstowe.

Archant

Landowners are looking at the future options for a 30-acre field which had been earmarked for a new Tesco superstore.

Suffolk Coastal councillors rejected proposals from the Walton Green Partnership for the 30,000sq ft supermarket plus around 200 homes, business units, café, community building and allotments on the land off Walton High Road, Felixstowe.

Tesco has not yet decided whether to lodge an appeal against the decision.

However, landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, are now looking at future options for the site while pursuing other linked development in the area.

This week the college was granted consent for 190 homes on a 12.7-acre field opposite Walton Green.

Tim Collins, of Bidwells, agents for the college and managers of its landholdings on the Felixstowe peninsula, said the college was considering the future of the Tesco land.

He said: “No decisions have been made at the moment and the site is still under consideration.

“The next step is the planning consent for the new premises for the Felixstowe Rifle Club, which is a key part of what happens on the Walton Green site in the future.”

Councillors refused the Tesco store for a variety of reasons, including its potential impact on the shops in Walton, loss of top quality farmland to commercial development, and the site not being the best for a new superstore for the town.

They decided Felixstowe needed only one new large supermarket and also rejected plans for an Asda at Haven Exchange, but agreed a 30,000sq ft store, for which no operating company has been identified, on land next to the town’s rail station.

Planning officers have indicated publicly that the Walton Green site could be used totally for homes.

If it was suitable for 400 to 500 properties that would provide a big chunk of the 1,760 new homes needed in Felixstowe by 2027.

Moving the century-old rifle club from its current firing range on the edge of the land is key to any development of the site.

On Monday, Suffolk Coastal’s south area development management sub committee is recommended to approve plans for a new state-of-the-art premises for the club off Nicholas Road, Trimley St Mary. The development will include a clubhouse and a indoor and outdoor rifle ranges.

There would be four ranges for shooting – one 50m and one 100-yard outdoor range for use by members shooting 0.22 rifles only, a third indoor range for air rifles and a fourth for all other gun types.

There would be a combined club house and armoury, and the club’s existing air gun range, part funded by Sport England Lottery Fund, is to be dismantled and relocated on the new site.

Planning case officer Liz Beighton said: “Whilst the club currently have a facility, which meets their requirements, it is on land outside of their control and on a site which is identified by the current landowner as having development potential.

“The loss of the club would be most unfortunate locally, regionally and nationally. It provides a very valuable facility and every effort should be made to help secure its retention.”

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