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Mixed response to Halesworth Tesco plans

PUBLISHED: 16:11 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:02 21 May 2010

TRADERS in Halesworth have voiced a mixed response to the news that Tesco is planning to open a store in the town.

The grocery chain has bought land between Saxon's Way and The Thoroughfare in Halesworth and has been granted permission to build a supermarket on the site.

TRADERS in Halesworth have voiced a mixed response to the news that Tesco is planning to open a store in the town.

The grocery chain has bought land between Saxon's Way and The Thoroughfare in Halesworth and has been granted permission to build a supermarket on the site.

But while some fear it will lead to the closure of small independent shops in the town, others believe it will bring in shoppers who will then use the town's facilities and visit smaller shops.

Alexander Carr, owner of Halesworth Wine Shop, greeted the news cautiously. He said: "I'm very pleased that we know where we are now heading - that Tesco now has a site in the town - and all the speculation is out of the window. We can now plan accordingly.

"All market towns are in decline and this is inevitable. However, since Tesco came to Beccles when I have been to the town I now

notice lots of people who used to shop in Halesworth shopping there. I cannot help thinking that it is

Tesco that draws them there

and maybe if Tesco opens here

then we could win these customers back.

"But whatever happens we need people in Halesworth to realise that if they want to keep their smaller, individual shops then they must use us or they will lose us."

Peter Baron, owner of Halesworth Bookshop, said: "Although I think it would benefit the town it is also probable that maybe some smaller shops could find the competition too much. I think that most of us smaller shops will be okay as we will offer a better range than Tesco and a bit more quality of service."

Meanwhile town councillors have expressed deep concerns about the arrival of Tesco because of the effect it could have on the town's smaller businesses.

Town council chairman Janet Wright said last week that she thought it would be "bad for the town" and that "it could be disastrous for many of the town's smaller traders," and this week refuted the idea that Tesco could be good for Halesworth because it might win back shoppers who had gone to the Beccles store.

She said: "A lot of people do go to Beccles for shopping as they have Rainbow and Morrisons and Tesco, and Beccles is a bigger town. They also have Woolworths and high street shops.

"People might come into Halesworth to use Tesco, but I don't think they would necessarily use the local shops, which is our concern."

She also said that the council believed that the site was unsuitable for a supermarket as there

were problems of access and

egress, and originally voted

against the idea in favour of using it as a community facility that would house a variety of public services such as council chambers, an advice centre, a day centre and a volunteer centre.

Alan Holzer of Halesworth Town Council, also expressed concern for the smaller shops in Halesworth should Tesco move into the town: "Experience shows that the shops we have got in the thoroughfare are working fairly close to the margin and it could seriously damage the businesses."

Tesco has said that although it has acquired the site it had no immediate plans to develop it because there were still a number of issues to be discussed.

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