Public react 'Positively' to new Sainsbury's superstore plans for Saffron Walden, say developers

PUBLISHED: 09:24 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 22:02 31 May 2010

An artist’s impression of what the new Sainsbury’s on Thaxted Road might look like Picture: SUBMITTED

An artist's impression of what the new Sainsbury's on Thaxted Road might look like Picture: SUBMITTED

PEOPLE have reacted positively to plans for a new 44,000sq ft supermarket in Saffron Walden, according to developers. A public exhibition outlining proposals for a Sainsbury s store - which would be twice the size of Tesco on Radwinter Road - was held i

PEOPLE have reacted "positively" to plans for a new 44,000sq ft supermarket in Saffron Walden, according to developers.

A public exhibition outlining proposals for a Sainsbury's store - which would be twice the size of Tesco on Radwinter Road - was held in Saffron Walden Town Hall on Friday and Saturday.

Almost 700 people attended the exhibition and, according to organisers, about 85 per cent were "in favour" of the Thaxted Road development.

However, questions still remain over how the site will be accessed and how the town can cope with an increase in traffic.

Sainsbury's has suggested solving the congestion problems by installing traffic lights at some of the town's junctions including Thaxted Road/Peaslands Road and Debden Road/Mount Pleasant Road.

Planners are also looking at installing extra lanes at the Radwinter Road/Thaxted Road junction.

Members of Saffron Walden Town Council grilled developers at a full council meeting last Wednesday.

Cllr Richard Freeman said: "It's easy to say you will fix these problems with a bit of work, but we know these junctions like the back of our hand.

"The junction at Radwinter Road and Thaxted Road was improved with section 106 money from Tesco and intelligent traffic lights were installed.

"You can't get an extra lane in there without buying up land - the reality of that junction is it's as good as it gets."

Sainsbury's development surveyor, Michael Morris, said: "Any supermarket of this size needs to have a good highways solution which includes providing a good public transport service to the site which is reliable and frequent.

"If you can't get customers in or out of a site, then there's no point having a store."

Cllr Patrick Boland questioned if a new supermarket was necessary. He said: "We are well serviced by Tesco and Waitrose. Where do you envisage all your customers will come from?"

Mr Morris said: "We have looked at shoppers' behaviour and there's something in the region of £50 million leaving Saffron Walden and going to places like Haverhill and Bishop's Stortford.

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