Thousands of residents sign petition to save Homebase in Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 11:06 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:24 18 March 2019

There is a petition for our customers to sign at the tills at Homebase in Saffron Walden to stop it from being demolished and turned into a care home. Picture: SAVE SAFFRON WALDEN HOMEBASE

There is a petition for our customers to sign at the tills at Homebase in Saffron Walden to stop it from being demolished and turned into a care home. Picture: SAVE SAFFRON WALDEN HOMEBASE

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Hundreds of residents have objected to plans to demolish Homebase in Saffron Walden and build a care home on the site.

Staff at the store have also set up a petition which currently has 1,700 signatures.

In consultation with Uttlesford District Council, residents expressed concerns about the loss of local employment by shutting the hardware store and questioned whether there is demand for a new care home in the town.

Resident Julie Fennell wrote to the council and said: “Not only does Homebase employ 25 local people, they also give to the local charities, including schools and hospitals. There are no such stores like Homebase in Saffron Walden.

“I for one am fed up with local businesses closing to make way for houses or care homes. It’s time to say ‘enough is enough’, let’s support our community for once.”

Other residents said Homebase was a valuable asset to the community and a new care home was not required in the area.

Jill Kirby, in consultation with the council, said: “I think it would be a real pity for this hardware shop to close. Do we really need another care home facility in Saffron Walden? There seems to be a wide choice already and is there a risk that this or other care homes would struggle to fill the rooms? It is bad enough that so many retail units are being forced to close through high rates or lack of custom. Please let this remain a retail unit.”

Another resident added: “Not everyone is online and some of us do not want to add to rising number of white van deliveries that continue to clog our town and surrounding villages. The populous of Saffron Walden and our villages is increasing month by month and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This will surely increase the value and importance of our friendly and reliable Homebase store. Surely common sense and an understanding of what the residents need and want will prevail.”

Edna Thomas said she uses the store regularly when she comes to Saffron Walden.

She wrote to the council and said: “I live here four days a week looking after grandchildren and use Homebase regularly. It provides a great service for the local community and those beyond plus ensuring jobs for many local people.

“The loss of such a store would be greatly missed and require potential customers to travel much further afield to obtain a similar service. The general consensus of people I have spoken to indicates that a care home, and certainly one of this size, is not required in this area.”

A spokesman for Homebase said: “Homebase has been overwhelmed by the strength of feeling in the local community about the potential closure of our store. To date we have received more than 500 letters of objection to the planning application and we have set up a petition which currently has around 1,700 signatures. We are also pleased that Saffron Walden Town Council voted unanimously to object to the planning application at their meeting on February 22.

“Homebase is committed to its future in Saffron Walden and will continue to fight these proposals. We are encouraging our customers to get in touch with Uttlesford District Council to make their voices heard.”

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