SAFFRON WALDEN: Opposition mounts against Sainsbury's and Tesco plans

PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 22:08 31 May 2010

MORE than 300 people have signed letters opposing the proposed Tesco and Sainsbury s developments in Saffron Walden during an event on Saturday. New campaign group, Save Walden Town Centre, organised the event in the town s Market Square. Spokesman, Paul

MORE than 300 people have signed letters opposing the proposed Tesco and Sainsbury's developments in Saffron Walden during an event on Saturday.

New campaign group, Save Walden Town Centre, organised the event in the town's Market Square.

Spokesman, Paul Gadd, said "We are delighted that local residents are now realising the huge adverse impact that supermarket expansion would have. Of the letters of objections that were signed, roughly a quarter were by shoppers from outside the greater Saffron Walden area, from towns like Royston, Haverhill and Chelmsford.

"The overwhelming message we received from these visitors is that they come to Saffron Walden because its town centre hasn't yet been destroyed by out-of-town supermarkets, and that we have a far more attractive range of shops than their local towns."

However, Sainsbury's development surveyor Michael Morris said that a new Sainsbury's store would in fact "complement a healthy town centre".

He also offered to have a conversation with the campaign group about their concerns, saying: "We would love to hear from the Save Walden Town Centre group so we can have dialogue with them, just as we have throughout this process with a diverse range of community representatives."

He added: "The derelict brownfield site off Thaxted Road already has previous consent for retail development, and is the best available location for a proposed store of this size.

"Our proposed bus service improvements and free in-store television and leaflet advertising for local traders are some of the ways we would encourage shoppers to visit both the store and the town centre. Although it is too early to give details, we are working on another initiative that we hope will further underline our commitment to helping local independent businesses.

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