New Co-op shop to open despite local objections

Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Proposals to open a new supermarket in Lavenham have been given the go-ahead, despite concerns the shop would affect tourism.

The East of England Co-operative received planning permission to create a store in the former Hogg @ Home building in the High Street on Wednesday.

Members of Babergh District Council’s development committee agreed the alterations to the Grade II listed property, despite receiving various letters of objection from residents.

There were also calls for the plans to be deferred, to give highways officials the opportunity to look into traffic concerns.

Roy Whitworth, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, said he believed the location of the shop could be problematic.

“The main concern was traffic, loading and parking due to its position,” he said.

“There is a bus stop right next to it, the Swan Hotel across the road and a butcher’s shop next door. So it is difficult to see how a supermarket can operate from that site.”

Many villagers had claimed the shop would have a detrimental impact on existing businesses in the area, while the added congestion, including delivery lorries, would be a turn-off for visiting tourists.

There were also queries as to whether the new store was necessary, given that the village already has a Co-operative group supermarket.

“The question still remains if the store is needed,” said Mr Whitworth.

“But the Co-op owns the building and it is allowed to open a shop there.

“We will have to have a chat with the Co-op to see what can be done.”

Nick Denny, executive officer for the East of England Co-operative, said the company was keen to ensure the village continued to thrive.

“We are committed to supporting the vibrant high street of Lavenham and very much look forward to becoming a part of the local community in the very near future.”