Asda superstore bid for Felixstowe’s Haven Exchange site set for rejection for second time

Asda wants to use vacant land at the Haven Exchange in Felixstowe for a new superstore.

Asda wants to use vacant land at the Haven Exchange in Felixstowe for a new superstore. - Credit: Archant

Supermarket giant Asda is set to be disappointed for a second time with community leaders being urged to reject proposals for an £18million new superstore at Felixstowe.

Supermarket giant Asda is set to be disappointed for a second time with community leaders being urged to reject proposals for an £18million new superstore at Felixstowe.

Cranford Developments has submitted the scheme for the 20,000sq ft store, filling station and 164-space car park at Haven Exchange, off the Dock Gate One roundabout, and say it could create 200 new jobs.

The company has resubmitted the plans for the 4.6-acre site – which were refused in 2013 – because it says no progress has been made on proposals for an already-agreed supermarket in the town centre.

However, Suffolk Coastal planning officers believe it is too early to write-off the agreed scheme for land at Railway Approach, and does not want to risk the resort ending up with two superstores, which would cause “unacceptable harm” to the town centre shopping area.

There is also concern over the impact on the Cavendish Park district centre, where Morrisons has a large store.

Councillors are being asked to consider the Asda project on Thursday but are recommended to refuse permission “irrespective of the benefits” because it is not the best site for a superstore and the lack of an identified need for more than one large supermarket.

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Matt Parry, planning director for Cranford Developments, said the scheme would add to consumer choice for retail shopping and petrol, and help to retain expenditure in the town rather than see shoppers continue to travel to Martlesham Heath and the edge of Ipswich.

The site already had planning permission for a larger retail development and the supermarket only increases the food element by 793 sq m.

There had been no objections from other retailers in the town, or from Morrisons, and both Felixstowe Town Council and Felixstowe Chamber of Trade support the plans.

The statistics relating to potential adverse impacts on the town centre and Cavendish Park were “theory and number-crunching”.

Mr Parry said: “The real world position is that nobody in Felixstowe sees a threat from our scheme at all.”

In a report, Suffolk Coastal planning case officer Liz Beighton said officers had carefully weighed up the benefits that would arise from allowing the Haven Exchange Asda development and the support shown for the scheme, but still did not feel there was sufficient grounds or policy to support the project, particularly the advice from the council’s retail experts Strategic Perspectives.

She said: “The Railway Approach site is considered to represent the optimum location for meeting the identified need for a new foodstore in Felixstowe and the positive benefits of the store in linked trips and expenditure will mean that its impact would not be significantly adverse as to undermine the town centre’s vitality and viability as a whole.”

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