Retail giant hits opposition

SUPERMARKET giants Tesco look set to fail in their bid to expand their Martlesham store due to fears that it will threaten smaller traders in the surrounding area.

SUPERMARKET giants Tesco look set to fail in their bid to expand their Martlesham store due to fears that it will threaten smaller traders in the surrounding area.

But three separate shops could soon appear on the site.

Plans have been submitted to transform the existing store by adding an extra 2399 square metres of floor space and introducing a range of non-food goods.

At present only 4pc of the shop contains these kinds of items but the new store would see this increased to 27pc.

When the store was originally built in 1994, there was a condition that no more than 10pc of the floor space would be given over to these kinds of goods, but the company are now asking for this to be relaxed.

A barrage of objections have been received by Suffolk coastal council from local organisations and traders, concerned that the plans would have a disastrous impact on shops and services in neighbouring areas.

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Martlesham parish council and Woodbridge town council said they are extremely concerned that the proposals would adversely affect local businesses.

While Woodbridge town centre co-ordinator Marion Wells said: "Town centre businesses cannot afford for these people to also buy their other goods out of town.

"I strongly object to the Tesco expansion proposals as I believe it would have a detrimental effect on all town centre businesses and the overall vitality and viability of the town."

In their report to councillors, Suffolk coastal's planning officers are recommending refusal of the plan.

They said: "The proposals would divert expenditure on convenience and comparison goods away from existing centres to out-of-town locations in the Ipswich Eastern Fringe adversely affecting their market share and the future vitality and viability of those centres."

In a separate application, also to be considered on February 5, Tesco have applied for permission to build three terraced shops on the northern side of the site.

The use of these would be restricted to do-it-yourself stores, builders merchants, garden centres, the sale of furniture, carpets and electrical goods, or businesses for the sales, hire or repair of motor vehicles and cycles, caravans, and boats.

Martlesham parish council is again concerned about the impact this may have on nearby retailers but planners have recommended this application be approved.

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