Tesco and Sainsbury’s applications for expansion in Saffron Walden to finally be determined

TWO supermarket giants will finally learn next month whether they will be able to expand in Saffron Walden – much to the delight of the opposing campaign groups set up to fight or support the plans.

The fate of the Sainsbury’s and Tesco applications will be determined at an extraordinary meeting of Uttlesford District Council’s development control committee on Tuesday November 23.

It could bring an end to the ‘store wars’ which have been rumbling on for over a year in the town and opposing campaign groups, which were set up by Saffron Walden residents, have welcomed the news.

Save Walden Town Centre chairman Paul Gadd said: “We are relieved that the planning process may finally be coming to an end, given the concerns and conflicts that the supermarket applications have caused over the last year.

“We look forward to seeing the planning officer’s recommendations, but we continue to have great concerns over the assessment that the planning officers have carried out and their apparent reluctance to challenge the supermarket claims.

“We hope that the development control committee will be presented with the necessary information to make a proper decision but, from the process we have seen so far, we have grave doubts that they will be and that the many serious challenges to the supermarkets’ claims will not be adequately addressed.”

However, the Sainsbury’s bid in particular, has received some strong public backing.

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The Saffron Walden Needs Sainsbury’s (Swans) group was set up by Nicky Agar and has accumulated almost 1500 members on social networking site Facebook.

Mrs Agar said: “Thank goodness that we have now got a date.

“I think they have had a good enough time to think about it. Hopefully they will come to the right decision and approve it.”

She pointed out that a new Sainsbury’s store would provide extra competition for the town’s Tesco store, adding: “A new store will provide competition and give shoppers more choice.

“The town is growing, and continues to grow, and we need the facilities to compliment that.”

Sainsbury’s is planning to build a brand new superstore on the former Granite site in Thaxted Road which, if approved, will be the firm’s first venture in Uttlesford.

The store would include a customer restaurant, frequent bus service to the town centre, 370-space car park and the creation of up to 350 jobs.

Tesco has plans to expand its current Radwinter Road store.

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