A “spiral of decline” could be triggered if Tesco gets the go-ahead to build a new store in Hadleigh – potentially resulting in the closure of other shops.
A new report into the building of a 2,500 square metre supermarket on the former Brett Works site reveals that the store could force the closure of the Co-op and two convenience shops.
The report – commissioned by Babergh District Council and compiled by consultants Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners – suggests the joint impact of Tesco and Morrisons may take £3.68million of trade away from the Co-op.
It also states that up to 40 per cent of trade could be lost from the town centre’s convenience shops.
However, the report claims that the “vitality and viability” of Hadleigh would not be harmed as it would result in more people visiting the town.
Robert Lindsay, a Bildeston parish councillor and co-ordinator for Babergh’s Green Party, said he believed another supermarket would “suck the soul” out of Hadleigh.
“Having three boarded-up, empty shops on the High Street, including the Co-op, would be a disaster,” he said.
“New tenants would be hard to find and the shops could remain empty for months, if not years.
“This would blight the High Street, driving it into a spiral of decline.”
Mr Lindsay said the knock-on effect of Tesco would also divert trade away from village shops in the surrounding area.
A spokesman for Tesco said the report was positive for the store as it highlighted that it would have no adverse impact on independent traders and would create jobs, competition and more choice for shoppers.
“This is something we know the community have been seeking for some time,” he said. “Our car park alone will help support local traders and keep shoppers in the town – this should be welcomed.”