‘Nobody is listening’ to businesses

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EXASPERATED business owners have called for councillors who approved an application for a new shop in Glemsford, moments after saying it could kill the post office, to go back to school.

The application to demolish Glemsford Motor Services’ office and workshop and build two retail units, one of which will be occupied by Spar, in Bells Lane, was unanimously approved at Babergh District Council’s development committee meeting last week.

Despite a petition against the plans, which attracted more than 350 signatures, councillors said competition between businesses was not their concern and granted approval.

Tony Mitchell, owner of Hunts Hill Stores, said: “Nobody’s listening, Babergh has got it totally wrong.

“It is killing shops off just to make it look like councillors are doing their jobs. I don’t think they understand economics and need to go back to school.”

Mr Mitchell said that the 15 jobs which could be created by Spar would be lost from other village businesses.

Tara Pandya, owner of Broadway Stores, which houses Glemsford’s post office, moved to allay residents’ fears over the service after district councillor Rex Thake, who backed the application, claimed approval for Spar may kill off the post office.

“People are worried about it closing. I think Spar will impact on the shop and maybe a little on the post office but it won’t be anything big as it is a different kind of business,” said Mrs Pandya.

Nevertheless she still felt Glemsford did not need another shop.

“If it was something different there would be some benefit,” she said. “The parish council have supported us against the plans but I don’t think Babergh cares.”

Peter Beer, chairman of Babergh District Council’s development committee, said: “We have no control over competition, nor should we have.

“This was judged on all the other planning reasons and had the support of the local member, Rex Thake.

“It is a difficult situation but, on balance, it was judged that this was going to regenerate that area and improve it.”