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Tesco boosted by exhibition

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 07:44 01 August 2010

TESCO is celebrating a positive response to its recent exhibition in Halesworth, which put forward their case for a new store in the town.

And it is pointing to the success of its store in Beccles as a key reason why residents should not be worried about the effect ton other shops in the town - something disputed by one former Beccles shop owner.

TESCO is celebrating a positive response to its recent exhibition in Halesworth, which put forward their case for a new store in the town.

And it is pointing to the success of its store in Beccles as a key reason why residents should not be worried about the effect ton other shops in the town - something disputed by one former Beccles shop owner. Nick Rees said he moved from Beccles to Halesworth because of the effect.

The company, now drawing up proposals for a store, said this week that about 70pc of over 150 response forms that were handed back at the public consultation two weeks ago were “supportive” of the new store.

However anti-Tesco protesters continue to stand their ground, maintaining that there are plenty of people in Halesworth who are against the store and branding the exhibition “an advertisement for Tesco.”

Tesco spokesperson Nick Gellatly said that the feedback had been helpful. “Our exhibition was well attended and many people took the time to discuss the proposals with us in detail,” he said. “We are now getting on with finding the right vision for regeneration of the Thoroughfare site, taking into account the community's input, and are moving forward with proposals for the store.

“It is clear there are lots of people in and around Halesworth who want Tesco to open. People welcomed an improved weekly grocery shop in Halesworth and the popular Tesco offer closer to home.

“A lot of participants agreed that new shoppers will come into town and visit existing businesses, much like with our popular Beccles store.

“A good number of people raised questions- we (are) still happy to talk with them and are looking at addressing their views either through the plans or specialist studies which will be included in a planning application.”

Popular topics of discussion at the exhibition included the need to establish strong links between Tesco and existing town centre shops and the issue of a free town centre car park, as well as support for shops, community services and activity on the Thoroughfare site.

However not everybody was won over by the exhibition, including anti-Tesco campaigner Jen Berry who has now collected approximately 1,700 names on a petition she started in the summer.

Mrs Berry, who lives in London Road, said: “I wouldn't have called it an exhibition- it was an advertisement for Tesco. All the basics weren't answered- pollution, transport, treatment of third world workers. And they pretended that it wouldn't affect the town. I've hardly come across anyone who wants it there.”

Meanwhile Nick Rees, who owns the Humbucks music shop in Steeple End, has lent his support to the anti-Tesco cause.

He said that he was forced to move his shop this year from its original site in Blyburgate, Beccles, in order to escape the ill effects of the Tesco store that opened there in 2005.

He explained: “Blyburgate and a good proportion of the town was served by the central Rainbow car park, but when Tesco moved in they sucked all the traffic and parking up to the other end of the town, due mainly to the free parking.

“As a result Blyburgate suffered severely from the lack of passing trade. As a consequence I closed the music shop, shortly after the fish mongers closed, the fish and chip shop sold up, the computer shop move out to Norwich.

“Tesco will have a similar impact in Halesworth as it will draw people in one direction. Luckily they don't sell guitars, fish and chips or offer a tanning service as yet but I am sure they will be working on it.

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