Supermarket store war

A STORE war has broken out over plans by a national chain to create 50 jobs by expanding near Woodbridge.Tesco wants to add more than 20,000sq ft at the Martlesham Heath store to increase the range of products for customers and set up a dedicated area for co-ordinating internet home delivery service.

A STORE war has broken out over plans by a national chain to create 50 jobs by expanding near Woodbridge.

Tesco wants to add more than 20,000sq ft at the Martlesham Heath store to increase the range of products for customers and set up a dedicated area for co-ordinating internet home delivery service.

But Suffolk Coastal District Council has received complaints during the consultation process that a larger Tesco would encourage shoppers to bypass shops in Woodbridge and Martlesham to spend all their money at the superstore.

Budgens, which has a shop in Woodbridge's Turban shopping centre, is worried that the vitality and viability of the town centre would be harmed and that shoppers would use Tesco as a 'one-stop' destination.

Martlesham parish council has objected to the proposed increase in floorspace with extra non-food products being sold.

Lynne Lodge, parish clerk, said: "Planning condition seven of the outline consent stated that only 10% of the whole retail area should be used for non-food items. The parish council would wish this restriction to remain unchanged. It is very concerned that the proposed extension of the area will adversely affect local businesses."

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The council is also worried by added traffic from customers and more lorries making deliveries.

Marion Wells, Woodbridge's town centre manager, said: "Although it does represent a bit of a threat to Woodbridge Thoroughfare, I think that the majority of the independent shopkeepers in the town have already demonstrated their resilience to such threats, and have come up with being more and more innovative and specialist in terms of the products and services that they offer."

She added the 'shopping experience' in Woodbridge was in a far different league to going to Tesco.

Tesco said that extra cycle racks would be installed and the landscaping enhanced as part of the improvements. The company said it required extra space to cater for the public's demand for a larger range of products and the organisation of the home deliveries and this would cut down on cars going to the store and co2 emissions.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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