Supermarket could spell 'death knell' for Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 09:11 25 December 2009 | UPDATED: 22:06 31 May 2010

A NEW Sainsbury s supermarket in Saffron Walden would spell the death knell for town-centre shopping , a town councillor has warned. Liberal Democrat members have spoken out against the proposed development on Thaxted Road following a majority decision b

A NEW Sainsbury's supermarket in Saffron Walden would "spell the death knell for town-centre shopping", a town councillor has warned.

Liberal Democrat members have spoken out against the proposed development on Thaxted Road following a majority decision by Saffron Walden Town Council to support the application.

At meeting of the planning and road traffic committee last month, the town council agreed to support the supermarket's bid if they agreed to certain conditions such as not selling clothes or having an in-store pharmacy.

Cllr Richard Freeman, who voted against the decision, said: "A new store would threaten the viability of Waitrose in the town centre.

"Shoppers visiting Waitrose often stay on to do more shopping in the town, or visit local cafes, pubs and restaurants. None of this would happen if Sainsbury's were to come to Thaxted Road, and if the existing Tesco were allowed to expand by its proposed 40 per cent in response."

Saffron Walden Liberal Democrats say they have carried out a detailed survey of residents in the town and the result was a clear 'no' to a new Sainsbury's superstore.

Cllr Freeman, along with Cllr Mike Hibbs and Cllr Pat Boland, have released a joint statement objecting to the application and warning what affect it will have on Saffron Walden.

The statement said: "A store of this size has to turn over £400,000 a week to be viable. This would involve at least 12,000 visits by cars (more with a fuel station), and it would need at least 70 large delivery trucks per week to keep the store supplied.

"Many of its customers would come from outside Walden and few would then move to another car park to shop in the town itself.

"Liberal Democrats in Saffron Walden stand alongside their colleagues in Thaxted, who rightly fear the impact of Sainsbury's juggernauts shaving pieces off their historic buildings, and weakening their foundations.

"Haverhill has a large Sainsbury's already (and an even larger Tesco). Bishop's Stortford has no less than two Sainsbury's! Another superstore in Saffron Walden, accessible only by car, is unnecessary, and would do untold damage to the town."

The Sainsbury's planning application is due to be considered by Uttlesford District Council's development control committee on January 13.

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