Co-op shop plan

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Plans have been drawn up to turn a shop in Lavenham, which has been empty for more than six months, into a new supermarket.

The East of England Co-operative has submitted a planning application to change the former Hogg @ Home shop in High Street into a food store.

The site has been vacant since February when the china and homeware business, run by Martin Hogg, closed.

Nick Denny, retail executive officer for the East of England Co-op, said the planning process was still at an early stage.

“I can confirm that we have recently submitted a planning application for alterations to the property which we own in Lavenham, in order to adapt the building for use as a food store,” said Mr Denny.

“As soon as we have an outcome, we will be able to share further details with the local community, whom we very much look forward to being a part of in the near future.

“We are committed to supporting the vibrant high street of Lavenham and providing a range of produce and services.”

Following the closure of Hogg @ Home, shoppers and business owners in the village spoke of concerns that the loss of the store could result in a knock-on effect.

Peter Hobbs, manager of D M Newman Butchers, said: “We rely quite heavily on tourism in the village and visitors don’t want to see empty shops.”

Roy Whitworth, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, said he has a meeting next week with executives from the Co-op, but was currently uncertain how the store would impact on the area.

“It really depends what kind of food store it is,” said Mr Whitworth.

“Obviously, it would be better than having an empty shop, but it has to complement what we already have here. I am very keen to view the plans.”

No date has been set for the application to be discussed by Babergh District Council.