Bigger supermarket to keep town shoppers

PROPOSALS have been put forward to extend a Woodbridge supermarket to deter people from shopping out of town.It is hoped nearly doubling the size of the Budgens Store in Hamblin Walk, off The Thoroughfare, will benefit the whole of the town centre shopping area by persuading people to stay in Woodbridge instead of going to Martlesham Heath.

PROPOSALS have been put forward to extend a Woodbridge supermarket to deter people from shopping out of town.

It is hoped nearly doubling the size of the Budgens Store in Hamblin Walk, off The Thoroughfare, will benefit the whole of the town centre shopping area by persuading people to stay in Woodbridge instead of going to Martlesham Heath.

The project will involve demolishing a bungalow at the rear of the shop to allow for the 430 sq metre extension, which will also include five one-bedroom staff flats.

A report submitted by applicants Bens Ltd said Woodbridge town centre was continuing to suffer from the impact from out of town stores - particularly Tesco at Martlesham - and empty shops had increased in recent years.


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The report said: “The population of Woodbridge and its catchment need to think of Woodbridge town centre as a destination for their convenience shop rather than travelling further afield.

“In this respect, it is imperative that the Budgens store be extended. It represents the only opportunity to increase floor space in order to retain and attract convenience shoppers to the heart of the town centre.

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“This proposal will provide a much improved and needed shopping facility for Woodbridge.”

The scheme has been welcomed by the town centre management group, Woodbridge Society and Suffolk Preservation Society.

But there are some concerns as it will mean the loss of six parking spaces when Woodbridge is suffering a lack of parking.

The possible introduction of a pharmacy when there are two others nearby has also drawn criticism.

Suffolk Coastal councillors are recommended to give officers authority to approve the scheme on February 7 as long as design concerns can be overcome.

On the issue of the pharmacy, planning officers say competition between businesses cannot be taken into account, but they do feel the development would have a beneficial impact on the town centre.

Is extending Budgens a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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