Traders hope for windfall

TRADERS in Woodbridge are hoping for a windfall today as negotiations into the expansion of their Tesco store get under way.As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, councillors gave their unanimous backing to proposals to increase the store yesterday with the condition the town would be compensated for lost trade.

TRADERS in Woodbridge are hoping for a windfall today as negotiations into the expansion of their Tesco store get under way.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, councillors gave their unanimous backing to proposals to increase the store yesterday with the condition the town would be compensated for lost trade.

Ivan Jones, chairman of the development control committee, said: "Mitigation measures can be put into operation that should be able to attract extra business so Woodbridge doesn't lose out. What we are looking for is considerable enhancement."

The size of the figure and its use have not been agreed but suggestions from the Woodbridge Town Centre Co-ordinator include increased parking facilities in the town, improved pedestrian routes, CCTV and a review of the traffic management scheme.


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The plea for compensation comes despite reports suggesting the expansion would not seriously undermine the vitality and viability of Woodbridge.

Speaking at Suffolk Coastal's planning meeting, Nigel Barratt councillor for Woodbridge and Seckford claimed this may not be the case in the long term.

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He highlighted the crippling effect on the town of the last recession and indicated a shock wave in the market place could cause considerable damage.

He added: "The statement from the Retail Impact Analysis that the proposal 'would not harm the vitality and viability of existing centres' cannot be accepted.

"After all, however successful Tesco is, and with £1 in every £8 being spent in Tesco's and selling more over the counter medicines and toiletries than Boots itself, it is highly successful, it is not yet a divine agency and does not and cannot create new additional sales.

"It can only take an existing demand away from other retail areas and Woodbridge is one of the areas likely to suffer."

Of the 30 per cent increase in floor space at the store 90per cent has been proposed for the sale of non food goods known as comparison goods meaning nearly a third of the store given over to this produce.

As part of the approval councillors agreed this figure should be negotiated at somewhere closer to 15pc of the entire floor space.

Veronica Reed, councillor for Kesgrave West, added: "What I do think is the parish council are talking about restricting the comparison goods to ten pc rather than increasing to 30pc.

"I am not happy with either and think we should go for a half way house. 90pc of the floor space as comparison goods seems completely over the top to me."

N Are you happy about the proposed expansion? Give us your views by writing to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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