On 3rd March the Councillors who make up the Babergh District Council Planning sub-Committee will be expected to make an important decision on the supermarket proposals that we seem to have been living with for so long. Earlier this month the Suffolk County Council Development Control Sub-Committee briefly appeared on this stage to consider both Tesco and Buyright proposals. Their officers had advised in favour of the Tesco riverside proposal and the official briefing was very brief but thanks to the vigilance of John Bloomfield and Jan Byrne, and in partnership with the Suffolk Preservation Society, the councillors received a much fuller statement of the case. They recommended that only one, not both should be approved.
It is easy to lose sight of the whole set of issues as each new point occurs so at this critical stage we think it worth reiterating the Hadleigh Society’s case.
The riverside site was completely rejected by the Inspector at the Local Enquiry in 1995, and therefore was not included in the Local Plan. The Hadleigh Society has identified 27 points on which the Tesco proposal is in conflict with the Babergh Local Plan.
The site stretches down to the River Brett with cars parked only feet from it. The opposite riverbank is a much loved nature walk through a wooded area. Any development on the scale proposed would completely destroy the tranquillity of this area.
In order to gain access to the site the developers, in their own words, want to “punch a hole” in the High Street by demolishing a building in the conservation area that is adjacent to and partly overlaps an important Grade 2* listed building.
The Tesco application predicts an increase of some 4,000 vehicle movements per day at the entrance to the site with traffic lights and road narrowing slowing the flow of High Street traffic. The resultant levels of noise, fumes and vibration in the middle of a largely residential conservation area would create a major nuisance.
The Buyright store already has A1 retail consent, which means that the owners could turn the whole store into a food supermarket at any time. Last year they obtained planning consent for an additional entrance that allows them to divide the present building into two stores, one of which would become a supermarket of some 25,000 sq. ft. They have made it clear that if their present application is unsuccessful then they will go ahead anyway with this division. Thus, whatever the outcome of their present application the town will have a supermarket on the Buyright site that, we understand, will be operated by one of the major supermarket companies.
On the other hand, Buyright have said that if granted consent for a new supermarket adjacent to the existing building, they will give up their right to sell food from their present store.
Although the Buyright site is, by government guidelines, an “out of centre” site, it is within easy walking distance of the older parts of the town. With outline planning consent now given to Persimmon Homes for a large number of new houses to be built on the old MoD site, it will be accessible on foot to a much larger number than would the riverside site. The footpath from Maiden Way provides access to the High Street.
As the site has a direct link to the Hadleigh bypass, delivery lorries will be able to avoid the Town Centre, as will those travelling by car from the area north of the town, from which Tesco predicted that half the new traffic would come. Unlike the riverside application, no special measures will be needed to cope with increased traffic along the High Street and the necessary road improvements are already part of Persimmon’s plans.
We can already see the pattern of bulk food shopping being changed by the Internet. Proximity to the town centre becomes irrelevant in this new world and a Tesco Warehouse despoiling the riverside site would be even more clearly seen as an act of corporate vandalism.
pleasure in late Stuart and Georgian Suffolk - A History Day School
Saturday 6th May in Hadleigh Old Town Hall.
day school of three slide-illustrated lectures by historian Pat Murrell offers
some gleanings on garden history using many unpublished Suffolk Sources.
Steering clear of the great landscape gardeners and grandiose designers
of the period, it will start by highlighting a gentry family with green
fingers, move on to the florists’ feasts and horticultural societies within
the area and conclude with the early history of Suffolk’s first botanic
gardens run by subscription.
grass roots look at gardening history designed to inform, delight and
£18, (£14 concessionary)
Sue Andrews (see
The new Chief Executive of Babergh District Council, Mrs Pat Barnes, gave us a stimulating start for the Millennium at our recent 8th February meeting. Local government may often have been perceived as boring but we could certainly believe her when she said that it was now a most interesting time to be in her new role. It is changing from the traditional public service to become empowered to give local leadership without the previous narrow constraints. It will not achieve this alone but will expect to form partnerships as necessary. Most importantly, it must actively seek to discover what people want. The structure of local government is changing: we may be more aware of how this is happening in London but directly elected mayors could come to Hadleigh as well. The government has set June 2002 as the date by which District Councils must decide which model of government they will adopt. The cabinet style in which the other councillors choose the leader may be more likely, but the challenge is for us all to have our say.
Having briefly set the scene the majority of the meeting took the form of a lively debate. It was clear that everyone could identify strongly with Hadleigh but had much more difficulty in relating to Babergh, whether for reasons of geography or difficulty in understanding the council’s organisation. The introduction of regional government was generally thought to be one tier too many, but it was not so clear which ones should go.
Nominations are invited from any member of the Hadleigh Society for an award to be made in recognition of 'Outstanding improvements to, or conservation of, Hadleigh's buildings or environment'
deciding to make an award the Society's Executive Committee and any
expert they may wish to consult, will be considering how sympathetic the work
is with its surroundings and how well it integrates with them. They will expect all work to display a high quality of workmanship and
to be an example of good practice.
Nominations should include details of the improvement made or of work carried out and should be sent to reach the Hon. Secretary, The Hadleigh Society c/o 16 Highlands Road, Hadleigh, Suffolk, IP7 5HU, by 1st April 2000.