Tesco blamed for hold on development
IPSWICH: Retail giant Tesco was today blamed for putting the brake on an expansion of the town centre.Borough planners are preparing to make a decision on a multi-million redevelopment proposal for Grafton Way.
IPSWICH: Retail giant Tesco was today blamed for putting the brake on an expansion of the town centre.
Borough planners are preparing to make a decision on a multi-million redevelopment proposal for Grafton Way.
However the company behind the proposed Westgate Centre warned a decision in favour of Tesco would kill their proposal for a generation.
Turnstone Estates have permission to build a new shopping centre on the site of the former Civic Centre - but nothing has happened since the tower block's demolition because no major retailer has been prepared to commit itself to the scheme.
Now Turnstone managing director Chris Goldsmith warned that the presence of the Tesco application had effectively put off any other retailer interested in other sites in the town.
He said: “So long as that application is under consideration, it is impossible to get anyone else - or Tesco itself for that matter - to sign up for any other scheme like the Westgate Centre.
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“And if Tesco does get permission to redevelop Grafton Way then that will be the end for Westgate, and probably for the Mint Quarter as well.
“You aren't going to get anyone else looking at a major site like this for the next 20 years. We'll just go on collecting car park income next to an empty development site.”
Members of the borough's planning and development committee are expected to discuss the proposals for a new Tesco at their meeting on February 10.
Tesco first produced an application for the �60 million site - which includes flats, other shops and a hotel as well as a new superstore - more than a year ago but there have been several amendments and clarifications for the council.
A Tesco spokesman dismissed Mr Goldsmith's concerns, claiming: “I suppose you could say he would say that, wouldn't he? But the problem for other sites is that the economy is in recession and many companies are not committing themselves to major investment.
“Tesco did look at the Westgate site but we rejected it because of access concerns for a store of the size we are looking to build.
“But the borough can be assured that if permission is given for Grafton Way then a major redevelopment project bringing new life to that area will go ahead as soon as possible.”