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Council call public meeting about Tesco

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 September 2008 | UPDATED: 07:38 01 August 2010

THE people of Halesworth will have the chance to air their views later this month on plans for a proposed Tesco in the town.

A public meeting arranged by the town council will be held at Halesworth Middle School on Monday, September 29, to allow people to speak about Tesco's hopes of building a supermarket off Saxons Way and Angel Link.

THE people of Halesworth will have the chance to air their views later this month on plans for a proposed Tesco in the town.

A public meeting arranged by the town council will be held at Halesworth Middle School on Monday, September 29, to allow people to speak about Tesco's hopes of building a supermarket off Saxons Way and Angel Link.

At a town council meeting on Monday, councillors were told that the company intended to hold a public exhibition at the old print works, behind the Thoroughfare, on Friday October 3 to reveal its plans.

Town councillor Ezra Leverett said: “It should be for the public to give us their views on how they feel about a very large superstore coming to the town - and in Halesworth terms it is a very large store. We should give them the chance to comment on the Tesco proposal before that meeting so they can go along with questions to ask.”

However Nick Gellatly, Tesco Regional Corporate Affairs Manager for the East of England, said he believed the meeting was premature as it comes before the company's public exhibition.

He said: “People will be attending this meeting without knowing the full details of what we propose. I think that is a pity because it is never easy to make an informed judgement without all the facts in front of you.

“I think a meeting of this nature would be better held after this event but that is not my decision.”

Halesworth resident Jen Berry, 69, who compiled a petition of almost 1,000 signatures against the arrival of Tesco back in July, will be one of the people attending the meeting.

She said: “I shall certainly be airing my views. We just don't need a Tesco. It will put more traffic on the roads and destroy other shops. If they actually start building we'll have to form a blockade!”

However Mr Gellatly, who will try to attend the meeting, argued that the store would be “widely welcomed.” He said that the store would provide jobs in the area as well as allow people who do their grocery shopping outside the town to do it locally.

He added that Tesco is “committed” to placing their car park in the easiest possible location for access to the town centre, so that people can shop in local shops, and said that the company was keen to ensure that local producers get the chance to supply the store.

Tesco's buying team will be at the exhibition on October 3 and will be happy to talk to any local supplier who is keen to work with them.

He added: “As we already have plenty of support, it is fair to say that we do not intend to abandon these proposals but to work with local people to make them right for the Halesworth. This is a great opportunity for the town.”

The public meeting on September 29 will take place from 7pm to 9pm at Halesworth Middle School. A second public meeting is expected to follow the exhibition in October.

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