The Hadleigh SocietyOct 2001
Newsletter Index Up Jan 2001 Apr 2001 Aug 2001 Oct 2001


Victory for Hadleigh

NO, NO, say the Inspector and the Secretary of State.

By the time this reaches your letterbox you will doubtless have heard that the Inspectors report recommended the refusal of both proposals for supermarkets. The Secretary of State has agreed and sent out the formal letters turning down both Tesco’s appeal and Buyright’s application.

When the Hadleigh Society teamed up with other like-minded bodies in April 1999 the prospect of taking on a company with the reputation and resources of Tesco seemed very daunting, and our subsequent research revealed many similar situations in which they had over-ridden local opposition.

The battle was a protracted one and the Buyright proposal added a new dimension to the issue in August of that year. In October the people voted in referendum following which the Town Council made its recommendation against the Tesco plans. It was March 2000 before the District Council delivered a verdict, with the Development Committee rejecting its officers’ recommendations and turning down the Tesco application. Carter Commercial’s appeal on behalf of Tesco was inevitable, leading to the opening of a Public Inquiry in October. The weight of evidence more than filled the three weeks allocated and the conclusion could not be scheduled until March of this year, by then two years after the proposal was first aired.

Determination and Vigilance

During this lengthy process your executive committee, and especially Jan and Joe Byrne together with John Bloomfield, have ensured that the public and the decision makers have been kept well informed of the real situation. We have presented the case through the media, from Hadleigh Community News through to BBC Radio 4.  Reports, both written and verbal, have been researched, prepared and submitted in turn to the Town Council, District Council, County Council and finally to the Inquiry.

25th September 2001 -
A Hectic Day in our Chairman’s Diary

“Having waited anxiously for so long for the letter in the post, the morning we heard was very strange. John Bloomfield got his post first and met me on my way home from swimming at about 7.30 with the news.  A quick phone call to the Community News enabled us to get a last minute item in, even though it was already at the printers. Then a series of phone calls to spread the news that we’d beaten Tesco. Our own post arrives but no letter! Arrange to photocopy the documents (about 150 pages). Allison from the EADT rings for comments and wants to arrange a photo at lunchtime. They haven’t received a copy of the report either. Ring Keith (Buyright’s legal adviser) to find that they haven’t heard either so break the news that Buyright’s application has been turned down. Unable to speak to Buyright’s owner as he is in Australia visiting a new grandson.  Radio Suffolk rings to set up a phone interview for late afternoon. Gather together a group for Allison’s photographs which we do in Sun Court’s garden. A glass of “bubbly” and then down to earth to read the Inspector’s report and the letters setting out the reasons for refusal.”

The Balance of Judgement

In summary, the Inspector accepts that the need for a supermarket was proved but rejects the Tesco proposals, on the grounds that the building was of an unsuitable design, the demolition of 109 High Street and creation of a wide entrance would not enhance the conservation area. The proposed mono-pitched roof and high wall would be damaging to the amenities of Sun Court.

The Inspector also considered that the proposed road junction would create traffic problems and would not be capable of enhancement. She was concerned that residents would suffer from disturbance by traffic and in particular from the sound levels produced by traffic at the access point.

In the case of the Buyright proposal, the Inspector’s only significant objection was that the building of a supermarket adjacent to the existing store would create a “one-stop” shopping site from which few people would walk into the High Street. The local shops would therefore suffer.

A Reprieve for Our High Street?

More than anything it is a reprieve for the High Street as a vital and viable centre of our town. However, it is unlikely to be the end of the story.  The Inspector doubts that the Co-op improvements will be enough to claw back money currently spent outside the town.  Babergh planners are currently revising the Local Plan and this issue will now be back on their agenda.

What Next?

After this somewhat unexpected decision, what happens now?  We understand that it is unlikely that Tesco can pursue this application any further, although they might try a new plan. However they would have to find a different access to the site. The only possibility we can think of would be from Bridge Street, which would present similar or worse traffic problems than the rejected proposal.

It has been Buyright’s declared intention, should their application be rejected, to divide their existing store in half and use one part as a food supermarket. They do not require any further planning consent to do this and we can only await developments.

The Co-op received permission in 1999 to extend its store.  Will it go ahead?

Next Event

Clive Paine returns to The Old Town Hall on Monday 22nd October for our next Hadleigh Society meeting.  His previous talks have been based on thorough research of local and national sources and recounted in a manner worthy of storytellers of old. Come and be entertained, informed and delighted, and recommend it to your friends. Never mind the topic, but if you’re interested, it’s the Edwardian Reformation in Suffolk. That’s Edward VI, of course.

Hadleigh Hosts Civic Trust East of England Group

The Hadleigh Society is one of 80 local amenity societies in the East of England registered with the Civic Trust. These have grouped with the active encouragement of the East of England Development Organisation, EEDA which has access to European Development Funds.

The Second AGM, being held on Saturday 13th October in the Old Town Hall from 2pm, will be completed by a talk from a senior executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Hadleigh Society Members are welcome to attend. With John Bloomfield as a member of the Group’s Executive Committee the Hadleigh Society will be showing off our town with guided tours for the participants.