Town centre businesses against Sainsbury’s bid to bring new store to Saffron Walden

INDEPENDENT town centre businesses are moving to block a supermarkets bid to build a new store on the outskirts of Saffron Walden, according to a campaigner.

Clive Porter says he has gathered 60 signatures from the town’s retailers and businesses in opposition to the proposed Sainsbury’s superstore on Thaxted Road.He will present the petition to the London Road headquarters of planning authority Uttlesford District Council next week.

Mr Porter, who lives in Melbourn near Royston but campaigns to save market towns throughout East Anglia, said: “This petition shows a good representation of small businesses and people saying ‘no’ to Sainsbury’s.

“We are fast losing our small market towns. People want choice, not just more large supermarkets on the outskirts of town. We won’t get that if we approve this application.”

Sainsbury’s had its original application to build on the former Granite site rejected by the council in December.

But it has resubmitted a reduced application which includes a 20 per cent smaller store, petrol station, online delivery service and smaller delivery vehicles.

It has also lodged an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate over its original application, highlighting the desire to move into Uttlesford for the first time.

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Sainsbury’s development surveyor Michael Morris sympathised with the concerns of the town centre traders, but said: “We are not offering the specialist services they provide and they will not be our primary competition.

“Our new store will keep more trade in the town by offering more competition and choice and a whole range of other benefits to the town.”

The proposals have been attacked by pressure group Save Walden Town Centre, which was set up to fight the original application.

Spokesman Paul Gadd said: “Whilst a new Sainsbury’s would obviously redistribute some traffic away from the Radwinter Road, and will provide competition for Tesco, we believe that it would be a disaster for Saffron Walden, Thaxted and surrounding villages.

“If you are against the effects that a new Sainsbury’s would have on Saffron Walden, please write to or e-mail Uttlesford District Council and the Planning Inspectorate as soon as possible and tell them that you are opposed to the new developments and why.

“There will be no point in complaining later that the town centre has turned into a ghost town.”

People wishing to register their objections or support will need to write to or e-mail both the Planning Inspectorate in relation to the appeal ( quoting reference APP/C1570/A/11/2152457/NWF) and the district council in relation to the new application ( quoting reference UTT/0787/11/FUL).

The deadline for representations is today (June 16) although the council will consider some specific parties who are carrying out analysis if they register their views by June 24.

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