Car park store suggestion baffles town

THE residents of Hadleigh have been stunned to learn the town's main car park could be considered as a site for a superstore.Babergh District Council's local plan task group has put forward Magdalen Road car park – which is run by the authority – behind the Co-op store for inclusion in the Local Plan as its preferred site for a new superstore.

THE residents of Hadleigh have been stunned to learn the town's main car park could be considered as a site for a superstore.

Babergh District Council's local plan task group has put forward Magdalen Road car park – which is run by the authority – behind the Co-op store for inclusion in the Local Plan as its preferred site for a new superstore.

The proposal would involve demolishing at least 23 houses in Inkerman Terrace and Inkerman Close, behind the car park.

Residents have received letters from the council informing them of the suggestion.


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Valerie Barber, 62, of Inkerman Terrace, said: "It's been horrendous. People just can't believe it. It could have been better handled to soften the blow a little."

Task group chairman David Hodge said it had accepted the need for more food retail space in Hadleigh.

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He added the Government's planning guidance meant land for such developments had to be found as close to town centres as possible.

Mr Hodge said the car park had been chosen after much debate in preference to the Brett Works industrial estate, which food giant Tesco had asked to be included in the Local Plan as a site for a new supermarket.

A Tesco spokesman said: "Tesco is amazed by the recommendation. It fails to take account of several key issues and furthermore raises more complicated issues.

"Hadleigh town centre is already lacking critical car parking facilities and the inclusion of a store on this site will only compound the problem.

"Tesco urges the council members to look at all the facts in reality and allocate the Brett Works site as the only one that can benefit Hadleigh and its residents."

The Co-op already has planning permission to expand its store and society secretary Mike Faulkner said: "I'm extremely surprised if that's the task group recommendation. It's hard to see any merit in it."

Town councillor and Hadleigh Society chairman, Jan Byrne, who favours a supermarket being built in Calais Street on the site of the Buyright discount warehouse, said: "I think this might upset a lot of people.

"It's the town's biggest car park, it's central and it serves the town centre businesses and shoppers. It doesn't make sense. It's absolutely amazing."

Roy Smith, of Magdalen Road, chairman of the Tesco supporters' group, said he was "gobsmacked" by the announcement.

He added: "That can't be right. Everything's against it and surely the town needs more car parking, not less. I can't believe it, it sounds so absurd."

Hadleigh Town Council clerk Sue Clements said: "The planning committee have had no prior knowledge and have not been consulted on this matter and have had no details of any press release.

"We would like to express our concerns, and if local residents have any queries, they ought to contact Babergh District Council."

The car park suggestion will be debated by the council's strategy committee on Thursday.

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