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Town voices opinions on new Tesco

PUBLISHED: 10:31 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 07:41 01 August 2010

HUNDREDS of residents packed a public meeting on Monday night to air their views about supermarket giant Tesco's plans to build a new store in Halesworth.

HUNDREDS of residents packed a public meeting on Monday night to air their views about supermarket giant Tesco's plans to build a new store in Halesworth.

The meeting, which was organised by the town council, was full of people eager to voice their concerns about the proposal to build a new store on land off Angel Link in the town, ahead of a public exhibition being held by Tesco this Friday and Saturday.

The meeting, which was often heated with the audience jeering at the Tesco representatives, heard from many of the 300 residents who attended.

Concerns were raised about traffic, the town's infrastructure, ethics, the impact the new store would have on local independent traders and why the town needed a second supermarket.

Speaking at the meeting Nick Gellatly, Tesco corporate affairs manager for the East of England, said: “Our stores are popular and that is why we need one here. But ultimately it is you who have a choice where you shop and who you support. I am sure those of you who support the local shops will continue to do so.”

He said that traffic and infrastructure issues would be addressed at the exhibition.

Only three people spoke out in support of Tesco. David Porter, who works at Coopers hardware store, said: “The town is dying - we need a Tesco to revitalise it and bring people back here.”

Also discussed was the future of another site which Tesco owns behind the Thoroughfare, which it now does not believe is the most appropriate location for a supermarket. It is instead supporting proposals for a future landowner to develop a mixture of local community facilities and shops on the site.

After the meeting Jen Berry, who has organised a 1500-signature petition against the new shop, said: “It had been said it was going to be a small store but at the meeting they said it would be twice the size of the Co-op in Halesworth. There are fish shops and butchers' shops and they wouldn't stand a chance against Tesco.

“This is a lovely town. Some people have actually moved here because it has local shops and hasn't got a gigantic superstore.”

The town council will hold a second public meeting after the exhibition, which is at the Old Print Works, behind the Thoroughfare between noon and 7pm on Friday and 10am and 2pm on Saturday.

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