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Tesco extension work to start this year

PUBLISHED: 17:07 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 07:26 01 August 2010

WORK on a proposed extension to the Tesco store in Beccles could start later this year after planners this week approved a scheme for a business councillors said had benefited the town.

WORK on a proposed extension to the Tesco store in Beccles could start later this year after planners this week approved a scheme for a business councillors said had benefited the town.

Two and a half years after opening in Beccles, Tesco wants to add 10,000 sq ft of sales floor space and 75 parking spaces to its store on George Westwood Way.

Most of the extra space will be used for food and less than a fifth for other goods, and areas of grass and small trees will have to be removed to make way for the extra parking spaces.

The scheme was approved by Waveney District Council's planning committee on Wednesday night, and Tesco have confirmed that they would like to start the work later this year once some “technical details” have been resolved with the council.

The development would require a number of improvements regarding access to the site, which could include creating pedestrian crossings at Gaol Lane and George Westwood Way, widening the exit into George Westwood Way, dropping the curbs into Newgate for easier access, and creating more and better cycle racks.

Tesco have provisionally offered to pay £25,000 of what they estimate to be a potential £65,000 cost for the improvements, however councillors feel that Tesco should cover it all.

Local councillor Chris Punt said: “I support what Tesco have done in the town, they've created employment and brought in other businesses.

“There were a lot of concerns earlier on about the competition it would bring, especially to the smaller shops, but I think a lot of them have benefited because it has brought people into the town.

“But there are access issues and Tescos are one of the biggest companies in the world. I think if they want planning approved they should pay for all the costs. They can afford it.”

Principal planner Tom Woolley said the application was “uncontentious with no objections to speak of at all” and that Tesco was “a well-received development which, the indications are, will be further improved by this development.”

Meanwhile Beccles Mayor David Smith also remained positive about the development. He said: “I think the overall opinion, and my own opinion, is that the extension is not going to affect too many people. It will give more parking and Tesco have promised that the items it will stock will not be in competition with other shops in the town.”

Tesco spokesman Michael Kissman said: “We are delighted with the recent decision by the council to approve our plans to extend and improve our store in Beccles. This will allow us to offer a better service and range of goods to our customers in the area. It will also create new jobs for local people.

“There are still some technical details to be resolved with the council and we will work together with them on those issues before work starts. Subject to those details being worked out, we would like work to start later this year.”

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