Hadleigh ready for great leap forward

IT'S only the first step, I know, but I can't help feeling that Hadleigh is almost ready to enter the 21st century.Councillors at Babergh have agreed that the most logical place for a new supermarket – which the town needs – is on the site of the Brett Works in the middle of the town.

IT'S only the first step, I know, but I can't help feeling that Hadleigh is almost ready to enter the 21st century.

Councillors at Babergh have agreed that the most logical place for a new supermarket - which the town needs - is on the site of the Brett Works in the middle of the town.

That's the site where Tesco wants to build a new store - a proposal which seems to a driven a wedge through the town.

There aren't many people who live in Hadleigh or who know Hadleigh who don't have a view on this proposal. I'm only an occasional visitor to the town and I'm in no doubt - it's the best thing that could happen to the place.

Market towns with supermarkets in the centre thrive. People from nearby villages and the town itself will go shopping there rather than drive into Ipswich to visit Tesco or Morrisons.

And they might even manage to attract people from wider afield who fancy the idea of pottering around somewhere different while still being able to get the weekly shop in the process.

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That's where places Woodbridge - with Budgens, Stowmarket - with Asda, and Felixstowe - with Solar - score.

People like the convenience of superstores, but sometimes it's good to combine your grocery shopping with something a bit different.

So frankly I don't believe all the little specialist shops in Hadleigh will go bust if Tescos comes to the town centre.

What would have destroyed the town centre would have been the daft idea to build a superstore on the site of Buyright on the edge of the town - it's a site that's just far enough out to ensure that no one would walk from the town centre to the supermarket.

It would have killed off Hadleigh town centre within months.

With a vibrant supermarket in the middle of the town, Hadleigh could just become a bustling market town again.

THEIR leader's been suspended from the borough council for rudeness to staff.

Another councillor has been thrown off the authority and banned from standing again for a year after failing to declare an interest in council discussions.

So why are Ipswich's Tories in such an upbeat mood?

When the Adjudication Panel found against Stephen Barker and Gordon Terry, the Tory group on the council was thrown into disarray.

They didn't know what to do - and it took 10 days before a new leadership emerged with former deputy Dale Jackson at the helm.

There were some doubts over Mr Jackson - who had his own brush with controversy when it was revealed he had been marching with the Orangemen in Ulster.

But since he's taken on the leadership, Mr Jackson and his group have been transformed.

"It's as if a boil has been lanced," one Tory told me. "Our meetings could be a fractious in the past, but that's all changed.

"We really feel as if we are one group moving forward together - and about to make big gains at the election in June."

A united Tory group at Civic Centre! What will happen next?

WHETHER or not we can claim all the credit I don't know but it has been good to see police officers, traffic wardens, and community safety officers patrolling the Upper Brook Street and Dogs Head Street area of the town centre over the last week.

Ever since we highlighted the fact that drivers were not being stopped for driving through there, the traffic regulations seem to have been rigourously enforced.

Certainly at least one driver felt the Star - or rather me as I wrote the article - was to blame for his getting a ticket and left a torrent of Anglo-Saxon oaths on our answering machine late one night.

I was just sorry he hadn't caught me when I was in the office. Then I could have asked him whether he had driven illegally along Dogs Head Street because he was too stupid to read the signs or too arrogant to think they applied to him.

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