Spar ‘would kill village shops’

A shop owner has claimed resubmitted plans for a Spar in Glemsford would kill off several village stores.

A planning application to demolish Glemsford Motor Services in Bells Lane and build two retail units on the site, one of which would be occupied by Spar with the other yet to be designated, is awaiting a decision by Babergh District Council.

Petitions against the previous application attracted nearly 700 signatures before its withdrawal by garage owner Roger Farrance.

Tony Mitchell, owner of Hunts Hill Stores and organiser of one of the earlier petitions, said: “I am flabbergasted that this has come back. Everybody is still of the same mindset. This would mean the death of our village’s shops.”

Mr Mitchell said as many as 20 jobs at his shop, Glemsford’s Post Office and other retailers would be at risk.

“There’s only so much money in the village and it can only go so far. This would affect a lot of people,” he said.

Glemsford Parish Council recommended the application for refusal at its meeting on June 12, due to concerns over parking and access issues.

Mr Farrance said the application had been amended.

“The building has now been put onto the centre of the site, as opposed to the side, and there are plans for a layby which lorries can pull into for deliveries,” he said.

He said that if a Spar store were to open in Glemsford, it would benefit the village.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to put anyone out of business intentionally,” he said.

“A bit of competition doesn’t hurt anybody. This is a growing village, so I feel there’s the potential to support a shop like Spar.”

Mr Farrance added that Glemsford Motor Services would continue operating if the plans were given the go-ahead and may relocate to an area of wasteland next to its current location.

“If this doesn’t come to anything we’ll stay put,” he said

A Babergh District Council spokeswoman said the application will go before the next available development committee, following the receipt of additional information from the developer.