Tesco debate rages on in Halesworth
THERE was anger and some support as Tesco outlined its plans for a store in Halesworth on Friday.It wants to build a 20,000 sq ft store on land off Angel Link, and a public exhibition at the weekend to show off its proposals.
THERE was anger and some support on Friday as Tesco outlined its plans for a store in Halesworth.
It wants to build a 20,000 sq ft store on land off Angel Link, and held a public exhibition at the weekend to show off its proposals.
Most of those visiting seemed against the plans, though there were also supporters who were being urged by Tesco to record their support in response to the existing 1,500-signature anti-Tesco petition.
The exhibition was held at the old printworks behind the Thoroughfare, part of a smaller second site which Tesco also owns and wants to develop for other purposes.
The exhibition included local people's suggestions for the site, such as low-cost housing, small shops and community facilities such as a community hall or day centre, but there was little indication of what was likely to happen.
Michelle Ricketts, 52, from Wenhaston, who works for the social services, said she was "very cross".
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"I just think people don't realise how special Halesworth is, and how unique it is to still have so many independent shops. I don't think Halesworth can sustain them and Tesco."
Also furious was Elissa Palser, a ceramicist from Wenhaston. She said: "I fear they will come in, they will under-price everything that is on offer in Halesworth until the shops have collapsed, and then they will put the prices up."
She added that not enough informa-tion was available to support Tesco's claims. The supermarket says "an independent survey of the local area found 80pc of people travel outside of Halesworth for their main food shop", but yesterday she was not told what area the people were selected from.
At a public meeting on Monday night, Tesco corporate affairs manager Nick Gellatly said the figure was for people who "sometimes" travelled outside, but yesterday he said he did not mean to use the word "sometimes".
Trish Dent, 52, a shiatsu practitioner from Spexhall, said: "Personally, I am not in favour of Tesco. I don't think it will do the local businesses any good."
But Roger Denny, who once owned the printworks site, said: "I am in favour of Tesco. When we were young there were a lot more shops than there are now."
Mr Gellatly said: "There are clearly two views in Halesworth, one in favour, one against, and others who haven't made up their minds. We have been quite encouraged by the support. There are other views, and we are looking at those to improve our proposals."
The exhibition cited Beccles as an example of a town where Tesco opening has benefited local shops. The Beccles Tesco, which is being extended, is 31,000 sq ft - 50pc bigger than the planned Halesworth store.