Tesco superstore wins final backing despite protests

ipswich: Work to build a new �70million development with a Tesco superstore at its heart will start in Grafton Way in September.

The Government Office of the East of England (Go-East) has decided there is no need to “call in” the controversial decision by the borough to approve the application.

That means the original decision by the borough’s planning and development committee in early March stands and formal planning permission will be granted once a few final points are tied up.

Crucial among these are that an agreement is reached between Tesco’s development arm, Spenhill Prop-erties, and the Environment Agency to ensure there is no damage to the River Orwell, and that final details about access are agreed with the county council.

A spokesman for Tesco said the knowledge that the application would not be called in meant discussions could start very soon.

He said: “This is brilliant news for us and for the town as a whole.

“It means we can now go ahead with confidence and make the arrangements that we need to with the statutory bodies involved.

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“We always said the earliest we could get on site was September – this decision makes that date wholly realistic.

“It means we should be able to have the main store open by Christmas 2011 and the whole redevelopment project should be complete by the middle of 2012.”

As well as the superstore, the development will also include two hotels, flats, and a small number of specialist shops.

As part of the application the company will also be funding major environmental and road-building projects in the area of the store.

The application had been bitterly opposed by existing retailers who fear that a new superstore on the edge of the town centre will draw trade away from heart of Ipswich. Ipswich Central opposed the development – and was shocked by the government decision.

William Coe, who has been spearheading that fight, said: “This is a bad day for Ipswich town centre.

“But the priority must now be for an immediate focus on existing retailers and a significant investment strategy to counter the negative impact that the new superstore development will undoubtedly have.”

n Will the new Tesco be good for Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk