Traders' fear over new Tesco proposal

INDEPENDENT businesses are today joining the fight against the proposal for a huge supermarket in the town centre.

Naomi Cassidy

INDEPENDENT businesses are today joining the fight against the proposal for a huge supermarket in the town centre.

They believe that if plans are approved for a Tesco superstore as part of a large development in Grafton Way, it could destroy their businesses and would not improve the town's appeal to shoppers.

Planning permission has already been sought by Spenhill Regeneration, a subsidiary of Tesco, for a development which would also include hotels and housing, although the design of the site, which stretches along the river front from Princes Street Bridge to Stoke Bridge, is still subject to change and discussions with Ipswich Borough Council are ongoing.

The issue has caused some divide in the community as many readers of The Evening Star believe the development is good news for the town as it would mean more jobs and improve the current derelict site.

However Peter Forster, from Memorable Cheeses in Dial Lane, is one of many business owners concerned about the proposals.

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He said: “We need investment in the town but I do not think this is the solution. We need more independent and good quality shops for people to come to town. I do not think this Tesco store will make people come to the area.”

George Debman, owner of George Debman Butchers, said: “My view as a small business trading in the town is we do not need this. The damage these big supermakets are doing throughout the country is irreparable. They do not do the meat industry any favours.”

Market trader John Meadows from Fruitful fruit and veg stall in the Cornhill, added: “I don't want anything like this. It takes away everyone's business and will have a big effect on the town. It will be hard competition for market traders.”

Chris Soule, chairman of the Suffolk branch of Federation of Small Businesses, branded the proposal as “madness”.

He said: “There is no justification for this. I wouldn't say the town centre of Ipswich is that secure now but if this is built, then all the small and interesting shops in the town will go. It is the responsibility of the councillors to stand up for their local communities.”

Previously Nick Gellatly, spokesman for Spenhill Regeneration said that without more and better shops in and around the town centre, people from across the region will continue to choose Norwich and Colchester rather than come in to Ipswich.

- What is your view on this? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

BUT FROM THE SHOPPERS, IT'S A DIFFERENT STORY -

Some comments from the Star website www.eveningstar.co.uk include:

- Ross Wishart said: “The site is derelict, surely any plan to vastly improve and regenerate an area whilst bringing hundreds of jobs in this economic climate is a good thing?”

- Samantha Catchpole said: “I can understand why people are objecting but in today's climate surely the prospect of jobs for more people should out weigh the negativity.”

- Garry Smith said: “The more big supermarkets the better. All the little shops are moaning. Why? They have been selling goods for too long at high prices. If they want to continue to exist then they need to cut their prices.”