Crunch meeting looms as council prepares to rule on Tesco plans

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Councillors will decide whether Tesco should be allowed to build a new supermarket in Hadleigh at a meeting on Wednesday.

The controversial planning application on the former Brett Works site was rejected two years ago due to concerns over its size and design.

Tesco and three supporters of the plan will get the opportunity to speak at the meeting before councillors debate the issue.

Opposition groups including Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce, Hands off Hadleigh and Hadleigh Town Council will speak against the application, which has been recommended for approval by Babergh District Council planning officers.

Jan Byrne, chairman of Hands off Hadleigh, said: “I am thankful that, at last, it’s happening but it is just appalling that we were not told about the meeting before now; we understood it to be three weeks’ notice. The lack of notice is, at best, very bad manners.”

Mrs Byrne said the group’s argument would focus on the economic situation and whether or not the town could support another supermarket.

Robert Lindsay, Babergh Green Party co-ordinator and a Bildeston parish councillor, said: “Babergh planning officers have recommended approval of this despite objections from Hadleigh Town Council, Aldham and Whatfield Parish Council, Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce and hundreds of individual Hadleigh residents.

“It is urging approval despite the fact that true independent retail consultants have told them that the town is too small to support three supermarkets.”

Tony Addison, from Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce, added: “Babergh District Council’s own economic development team supports our arguments and opposes the opening of this Tesco store, yet the planners at Babergh have rejected their own experts’ opinion in favour of one from Tesco.”