D-day for new store bid

SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s will find out tomorrow if its plans for a new store in Sudbury will get the go ahead.

The retailer’s application for a 6,000-square metre supermarket on the site of the former William Armes factory in Cornard Road will be discussed by a development committee on Wednesday.

The plans, which include a cafe, a 300-space car park and cycle park, were expected to go before Babergh District Council last month but were delayed after objections from Suffolk County Council, the highways authority, on road safety issues.

In the wake of these concerns, the company has now revised its proposals and committee members have been advised to grant planning permission for the development.

Chris Storey, chairman of Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, said that any decision was likely to draw criticism as the plans had split opinion in the town.

“There are mixed views because the businesses within the area have a diversity of opinion on how the store will affect the town,” he said.

“I do expect the district council to give the application very careful consideration and, if approved, to minimise the negatives, but it has the potential for significant impact and is difficult to judge.”

Around 300 jobs could be created if the store is given the thumbs up, but although a number of organisations – including Sudbury Town Council, Great Cornard Parish Council and Suffolk Wildlife Trust – have not voiced any objections, others have.

Twenty-two letters of objection have been sent to the district council, with concerns ranging from a detrimental effect on town centre shops, claims the project will threaten the Hamilton Road quarter development and worries about a dramatic increase in traffic.

In a report prepared for next week’s meeting, the district council’s planning policy team said it had taken these factors into account, but there was also the likelihood the store would generate income for Sudbury with more people visiting the town.

“For these reasons, we are willing to set aside our overall objection, since it is recognised that although there are still some problematic issues here, it is a finely balanced case and there are substantial factors to support it,” said officers in the report.

Sainsbury’s has said that if the plans are approved it will make financial contributions to improve the town’s bus station, upgrade footpaths and transfer a conservation area near the site into the hands of the town council.