Campaigners welcome Tesco decision
CAMPAIGNERS fighting controversial plans for a Tesco store in a North Suffolk market town have welcomed news the application has been rejected.But the retail giant has not ruled out a supermarket for Halesworth, saying it is still considering its options.
CAMPAIGNERS fighting controversial plans for a Tesco store in a North Suffolk market town have welcomed news the application has been rejected.
But the retail giant has not ruled out a supermarket for Halesworth, saying it is still considering its options.
Bosses had hoped to build a store off Angel Link - a move which supporters said would breathe new life into the town while opponents feared would destroy small independent traders.
Following a public inquiry the Planning Inspectorate has now rejected the plans, saying they would have had a harmful impact on the retail character of the town centre and that it would be out of scale with the catchment area.
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The decision has been welcomed by the district council and campaigners.
Jenny Berry, a member of Save Halesworth, which had been fighting the plans, said they were extremely pleased as a store would have 'ruined' the High Street. Lady Caroline Cranbrook, of Great Glemham, who has won nationwide plaudits campaigning for small retailers and food suppliers in Suffolk, also welcomed the decision.
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'It is very pleasing,' she said. 'The store was too large and in the wrong place.
'It would have had a serious impact not just on retailers in Halesworth, but also on smaller shops in surrounding villages which are at the heart of our communities and provide the seed bed for new local produce.'
Ken Sale, Waveney's portfolio holder for the greenest county, said the decision fully vindicated the council's planning policy position but was frustrated the Planning Inspectorate had not awarded the district authority any costs.
'As a small local authority given no alternative but to defend itself against Tesco, legal costs were unavoidable and while I am hugely grateful for all the hard work put in by officers, members and the people of Halesworth to help reach this conclusion, a failure to award costs is a real kick in the teeth,' he said.
Inspector Andrew Pykett said in his report: 'Although I do not dispute the proposed development would add to consumer choice as expressed by an enhanced range of supermarket destinations, I consider it would be out of scale with the capacity of its catchment area and that it would have a harmful impact on the retail character of the town centre.'
He said a site close to Halesworth's Thoroughfare, also owned by Tesco, was better as it had the benefit of both outline planning permission for a foodstore and a local plan allocation.
A Tesco spokesman said they were disappointed, but the decision did not reject the need for a new store in town. 'We will be considering how to respond with that in mind,' he added.