Supermarket giant could be on the way

HOPES are high that supermarket giant Waitrose could open a store in a market town after councillors unanimously voted to grant permission for a retail operation within the heart of the community.

HOPES are high that supermarket giant Waitrose could open a store in a market town after councillors unanimously voted to grant permission for a retail operation within the heart of the community.

Supermarket giant Waitrose is expected to move into the site in Stowmarket after mid Suffolk district councillors, meeting at their Needham Market chambers yesterday, granted planning permission with a string of conditions to redevelop the former Seamans builders yard in Milton Road.

The large development which is expected to run into the millions would create a 2,400 m2 shop for a single high quality convenience retailer, which is expected by the authority to be taken up by the national operator that has been closely involved in designing the project.

Tim Passmore, Conservative leader of Mid Suffolk Council, said he hoped the finished site would bring extra trade for other retailers as a spin off.

He said: “This would be wonderful, a fantastic development for the town. This is exactly the sort of high quality retailer we need.

“It will help attract a lot of other customers and visitors to the town, which should have a spin off for many other businesses in the centre.

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“I hope this will be the first high quality development of many to come in the next few years, we want the community to become a place everyone in mid Suffolk is proud of. I would be absolutely delighted if Waitrose does come and take up this site.”

John Matthissen, a Green district councillor who moved approval of the store during the meeting, said: “This is definitely good for the town and what we want.”

Paul Shepherd, who with his wife Pam owns the independent sandwich bar Tuckers near the development site, said: “We have got a lot if empty shops at this end of town.

“This could bring some business to this end of town, or people may simply park there and then leave. We will have to wait and see.”

A spokesman for Waitrose said he was unable to discuss the company's plans in detail yesterday.