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North Suffolk opposition mounts

PUBLISHED: 08:55 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:13 06 July 2010

OPPOSITION is beginning to mount in protest of plans by supermarket giant Tesco to open a major new store in a Suffolk market town.

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition against the proposals for the Angel Link site in Halesworth.

OPPOSITION is beginning to mount in protest of plans by supermarket giant Tesco to open a major new store in a Suffolk market town.

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition against the proposals for the Angel Link site in Halesworth.

The store would be slightly smaller than the one in Beccles, provide free car parking for up to three hours in the town centre and is expected to generate around 200 jobs.

The proposals - which were recently turned down by the town council on planning grounds - have split the local community.

Supporters claim a supermarket will help bring shoppers into the area while others fear it will drive them away from local retailers.

Jenny Berry is campaigning against the store and has collected more than 2,000 signatures in opposition.

She said: “People have moved here because the town hasn't been spoilt and it is such a lovely place to live. But if Tesco move in it will be ruined. I don't know anyone who is in support of it.

“It's been claimed that it will create jobs - but what about all the independent traders and retailers it will put out of business?

“I can't think what people want that they can't get here already. We have lovely shops in Halesworth and a new supermarket would be completely inappropriate.”

A pro-Tesco petition, set up around a fortnight ago by David Porter - manager of Halesworth's Cooper's hardware store, has had around 400 signatures.

“They are all people who shop in the town and want to see it do well,” he said.

The plans have been in the pipeline for the best part of a year and a public exhibition detailing the proposals was held in October.

Nick Gellatly, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said: “At the moment people have to travel to Beccles to get their shopping. We want to draw people back and keep them in Halesworth. There is no obligation for people to shop at Tesco - they can use the free car park and go into town.

“There is a difference between supermarket shopping and other shopping. You don't go to the supermarket for a great day out - it is a part of your weekly chores. Where smaller independent retailers can win is that they offer a very interesting shopping experience, more responsive to individual shoppers and provide a quality service. There is a place for everyone in the high street.”

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