Saffron Walden should keep 'Open mind' over Sainsbury's proposals for new store, says business leade

PUBLISHED: 09:05 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 21:51 31 May 2010

SAFFRON Walden should keep an open mind over Sainsbury s plans to open a brand new store in the town, a business leader has said. The multinational supermarket announced this week that it has earmarked the Granite site in Thaxted Road - adjacent to the

SAFFRON Walden should keep an "open mind" over Sainsbury's plans to open a brand new store in the town, a business leader has said.

The multinational supermarket announced this week that it has earmarked the Granite site in Thaxted Road - adjacent to the Essex County Council-owned and operated recycling centre - as a potential location for a new store.

It would be the first Sainsbury's in Uttlesford and the firm is hoping to engage public opinion by launching a consultative process in September.

While the full extent of the proposal has yet to be made clear, chairman of the Saffron Walden Business Forum, Richard Swain, believes people should wait to see what is on offer before coming to any rash decision.

Mr Swain said: "Anything that has the potential to bring in additional shoppers to the town should be supported.

"In terms of it affecting Saffron Walden retailers, this is a market of quality and product knowledge. What is on offer is vastly different to that of a multinational supermarket so the ability to compete is still possible providing the strength of offering is there.

"The fact Sainsbury's is interested in brining a store to Saffron Walden shows what a vibrant town it is. Sainsbury's wouldn't want to come here if this was a dying area.

"However, we could never support anything that detracted from the success of the town centre. We will be keeping a close eye on the situation and will be looking to be heavily involved in the consultation process."

Sainsbury's insist that the store would provide a "full range of high quality groceries to improve customer choice and competition", but it is the claim that it would create some 350 jobs locally that Mr Swain believes raises some question marks.

"It seems that any big organisation wanting to squeeze through planning comes up with this notion that it would be great for the local economy," said Mr Swain.

"But in an area of relative low unemployment I can't see these positions being filled by the people of Saffron Walden or the surrounding area."

Sainsbury's is due to release details of the exhibition shortly.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Call us at 01799 512882, e-mail editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk or write to us at: 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1EE.

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