Felixstowe: Businesses announce decision to oppose Tesco superstore
TRADERS in Felixstowe are today preparing to take on the might of Tesco – and have agreed to fight the supermarket giant all the way in its bid to build a new superstore.
The company, in partnership with landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, are due to submit planning applications next month for a new store plus 180 homes on a 30-acre field in Walton High Street.
Residents’ action group Walton Felixstowe Community First is gathering increasing support, and now Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce has announced that it will formally oppose the 30,000sq ft Tesco store.
An overwhelming majority, 83per cent, of chamber members are against the proposals.
Chamber chairman Andrew Rowdon said “Now that we are confident of the likely application and the potential impacts on the town, we have been able to consult our members for a final time and represent their views.
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“We don’t believe the proposed development will benefit the trade and commerce in the town and therefore we oppose the development.”
The chamber has faced criticism from some quarters for not stating earlier its view about the proposed development on the 30-acre field in Walton High Street.
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Mr Rowdon said over the last ten months the chamber has liaised with the Walton Green Partnership to find out as much as possible of the proposals, raise concerns and ask specific questions.
The chamber believes the superstore would cause a reduction in footfall in the town centre to the detriment of all businesses in the town.
Mr Rowdon said a declining town centre would do nothing to promote local trade and commerce, the chamber’s fundamental aim.
Local traders trade with local traders, keeping the local economy buoyant – but Tesco shareholders would not spend their dividends in this area.
A vibrant town centre was also an important attraction for visitors to the resort.
The chamber felt traffic in the area of Candlet Road and High Road would inevitably increase, creating the potential for a congested entrance to the town, like many others in Britain, and government had said suitable sites in or close to town centres should be considered before out-of- town developments.
Walton Green Partnership says the project will claw back spending lost to the town by people travelling to Martlesham and Ipswich, and encourage people to shop closer to home.