Supermarket summer for Hadleigh

A FINAL decision on whether Tesco will be allowed to come to Hadleigh is still months away – but today the town is already in the process of getting a new High Street supermarket.

By Paul Geater

A FINAL decision on whether Tesco will be allowed to come to Hadleigh is still months away – but today the town is already in the process of getting a new High Street supermarket.

Work to extend the town's Co-op store is well underway – work which will create a new store as large as the company's Solar in Felixstowe.

"This will be a major supermarket for Hadleigh, and it will complement the shops that are already in the town centre," said Co-op assistant general manager Bill Knowles.

"It will be badged as a Co-op Solar store, and the prices will be on a par with other Solar stores across Suffolk and Norfolk," he added.

Tesco took a substantial step towards getting its wish for a new store on the Brett Works site last month when Babergh Council voted to include that as the prefered site for retail use in its new local plan.

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However that doesn't mean it will necessarily go ahead and there are still major access problems to be overcome.

And Mr Knowles was sceptical about whether that would attract new customers to existing shops.

"Tesco's site isn't in the middle of the town; it's beyond the fringe. Their plan is for a store that will turn its back on the High Street.

"It would have just about the same sales area as ours. The pedestrian link to the town centre that they offer is Pound Lane, a narrow street with no room for footpaths.

"Stores like that don't in practice bring many shoppers into the High Street; their customers tend to fill their car boot and drive straight home."

The new Co-op extension should be open by September, creating a store with a 13,000 square foot floorspace.

There is a second Co-op on the other side of the High Street – the former Alldays store which was taken over last year.

"We have still to decide what to do with that. It's been useful for us while the work has been going on to the main store – but now we have to consider its future," Mr Knowles said.

nDoes Hadleigh need Tesco? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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