Picnic protest against Tesco

HANDS off Hadleigh campaigners have mounted a very public protest against Tesco.

HANDS off Hadleigh campaigners have mounted a very public protest against Tesco.

More than a hundred people braved the changeable weather to enjoy a picnic and live bands to illustrate widespread objections to plans to build a store on the banks of the river Brett.

Babergh District Council is set to make a decision on the controversial Tesco development next month.

The campaigners are worried what impact the development will have on wildlife along the river.

A spokesman for Hands off Hadleigh said: “Access to the proposed store will be across wet grassland, which according to Suffolk Wildlife Trust is of ecological significance.

“The proposed store will be located immediately within the river Brett corridor and adjacent to a nature reserve on Broom Hill. The area hosts a wide range of flora and fauna.

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“Not only is the Riverside Walk much appreciated by local residents and many visitors for its wild flowers, birds and tranquil atmosphere, it is of considerable local conservation value.

“There are some 50 species of birds, including many of conservation interest, to be found there including turtle doves, song thrush, nightingale, kingfisher, water rail, spotted flycatcher and barn and tawny owls, to name but a few.

“Other important species which are present along the riverside and in adjacent fields and meadows include water voles, otters, bats, toads, slow worm and grass snake.”

Residents fear the tranquillity of the River Walk and nature reserve will be blighted by noise pollution, shopping trolleys in the river and carrier bags in the trees.

Ecologist, allotment holder and member of Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Bridge Allotment Association, Brian Dicks said: “A Tesco store on the riverside in our lovely town centre poses an unacceptable threat to some of our most precious wildlife resources and to our peace and tranquillity.”

Plans have been submitted to build a 33,000 sq ft retail operation on the banks of the river including landscaping, relocation of part of the council's own car park and neighbouring allotments and removal of trees and hedgerows.

During December 2006 Tesco held a two day public consultation about its plans and it said the response from residents had been extremely positive, with most people thinking it would bring a much needed boost to the town.

No-one from Tesco was available for comment.

n. Do you think a Tesco should be built in Hadleigh? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk