Town fears impact of new stores

PROPOSALS to build new stores at Martlesham could hit Woodbridge town centre traders hard - taking away another £210,000 of business every year and closing down shops.

PROPOSALS to build new stores at Martlesham could hit Woodbridge town centre traders hard - taking away another £210,000 of business every year and closing down shops.

Plans have been put forward to use land earmarked for a hotel next to the BP garage on Anson Road - opposite the Tesco superstore - for non-food outlets.

But traders in Woodbridge fear adding 929sq m of extra stores to the out of town centre will attract people away from the riverside town.

Applicants Save and Prosper Pensions Ltd say they do not believe the development will harm Woodbridge.


You may also want to watch:


But Woodbridge Town Council said: “We deplore any additional out of town shopping developments that will seriously affect trading in Woodbridge.”

The Woodbridge Town Centre Management group, which is calling for refusal of the bid, said empty shops in the town reached an all-time high last year with ten per cent vacant.

Most Read

It said new units on the Focus development at Martlesham were diverting £2.5m away from Woodbridge each year and could lead to many more empty shops, and the new shops would take a further £210,000.

“The land is currently not designated for retail use and should not be changed as there is already sufficient retail in this area to have a significant impact on Woodbridge town centre,” said the group.

“The recent permissions granted to other sites in this area cannot be used as justification for more retail in this location.”

Martlesham Parish Council is also objecting because it fears the extra traffic the development will generate will be a major problem.

Suffolk Coastal's south area development control sub committee will decide the project's fate on April 3. Councillors have been recommended by officers to approve the scheme.

A report from planners said: “The sale of bulky goods ought not to have a material impact upon this aspect of trading in Woodbridge town centre and the potential impact on Martlesham and Kesgrave district centres is unlikely to be detrimental for the same reason.”

Should the site be used for shops? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter