Tesco claim expansion support

RETAILING giant Tesco's has claimed that an overwhelming majority of residents support the firm's £1 million store expansion in Stowmarket.The company's claim comes despite fears that it could devastate the independent traders in the community.

RETAILING giant Tesco's has claimed that an overwhelming majority of residents support the firm's £1 million store expansion in Stowmarket.

The company's claim comes despite fears that it could devastate the independent traders in the community.

Mid Suffolk District Council is considering whether to grant planning permission for the business to develop its operation on the large new Cedars Park estate on the edge of the town, near the A14.

More than £1 million would be invested into the store creating more than 50 jobs but the move is dividing residents.

Some families are fearful of the impact on the smaller independent retailers, as a number of long established businesses have shut their local shops, while others say the current superstore is simply not big enough to meet shoppers needs.

Tesco hopes to build an extension, a new mezzanine floor with a coffee shop and toilets, as well as developing existing areas to increase the gross overall size of the store from 4,049 square metres gross to 5,562.

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Matt Clark, Tesco store manager, said: “I am delighted with the support that has been shown and I believe the larger store is much needed.

“Customers often tell me that the store is cramped and crowded and that this leads them to travel out to Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds for their shopping.”

The company said that during public consultation on the redevelopment plans during September last year more than 83 per cent of those who replied stated that they were in favour of the redevelopment.

But some small long established independent town centre retailers, local councillors, and The Stowmarket Society are among those opposing the move amid fears that it will hit the viability of the smaller town centre shops.

It is believed Mid Suffolk District Council will make a decision during the summer.

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