Suffolk: No new Tesco superstores, but future of three controversial sites unclear

Never to leave the drawing board - an artist's impression of the proposedTesco Walton Store

Never to leave the drawing board - an artist's impression of the proposedTesco Walton Store - Credit: Archant

Retail giant Tesco has confirmed that it will not go ahead with any of the new superstores it planned for Suffolk until last year – but there are few clues about what will happen to the land they had earmarked for them.

The company has confirmed that it will not be going ahead with plans for a 30,000 square foot store at Walton Green near Felixstowe – earlier this year a planning application for the site was turned down by Suffolk Coastal and Tesco have said they are not currently looking to build on that site.

The abandonment of the Felixstowe proposal follows on from the decision to abandon plans for a new store at Grafton Way in Ipswich and Babergh Council’s decision to refuse permission for a new store at Brett Works in Hadleigh.

Tesco did not own the land at Felixstowe, that is part of the Trinity College estate, but it does own the land in Ipswich and Hadleigh.

Both pieces of land are now up for sale – although there is little sign of any prospective buyer on the horizon.

An official statement from the company said: “We’re continuing to investigate the options for our Grafton Way and Brett Works sites and will keep the local community updated.”

Property experts expect the company to hang on to the land in the hope that its value will increase as the economic recovery gathers strength.

Most Read

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said he was very keen to see something happen at the Grafton Way site.

He said: “We always felt a large superstore there was not on and the company eventually came to the same conclusion – especially when the cost of road changes was taken into consideration.

“We would like to see a mixed development there with homes and a few smaller shops, but that would not be as valuable for Tesco at this time so it could take a time to see development.”

The proposal for a supermarket at Brett Works in Hadleigh was turned down by Babergh planners last year after a 15-year battle by Tesco.

The company eventually raised the white flag and admitted defeat – and put the site up for sale.

Hadleigh councillor Brian Riley, who is heading a group trying to find a new use for the Brett Works site, said it was important to work with the company – but it had been asked to make sure the site was secure.

He said: “There are a number of possible uses, including new units for high-quality small businesses and community use but that all depends on Tesco selling the site for development and we don’t know when that will happen.”

At Walton Green Tesco does not own the land, which has been earmarked for housing. Ironically this is one area where the company could eventually have a presence, albeit in a different form.

The original proposal was for a new supermarket alongside 200 homes. As housing land the site could eventually hold 400-500 homes, and these would be expected to include a small neighbourhood shopping centre.

This would almost certainly include a small supermarket, of the size that Tesco has been opening across the area – so it might yet have a presence in that part of Felixstowe.