5101Suffolk town that took on Tesco and won... FOUR times!
- Oct 10, 2013
Town that took on Tesco and won... FOUR times! Traders raise £80,000 to save their high street
- Hadleigh councillors vote to block new supermarket to protect
- Tesco first applied to build a store in 1987 but still cannot get permission
PUBLISHED: 16:54, 30 September 2013 | UPDATED: 18:21, 1 October 2013
Three times the residents of a small town had seen off the might of Tesco.
So when Britains biggest retailer returned for a fourth go at putting a supermarket in their high street, the residents knew they had a real fight on their hands.
For 25 years the people of Hadleigh in Suffolk had put up posters, written letters and held marches to stop the retailer installing itself in the town.
Shopkeepers had warned that the arrival of a supermarket would destroy the town by undercutting their traditional shops and forcing them to close.
But when Tesco announced yet again it was planning to build a supermarket in the historic wool town, where 92 per cent of buildings are listed, the residents decided there was only one way to take on the mighty retailer.
Instead of organising a new petition or preparing placards, the town pulled together to raise an impressive £80,000 war chest made up of donations from shopkeepers and individuals to pay for a team of experts, including a top London QC.
Jan Byrne, 77, of the Hadleigh Society, said: We realised we could no longer just argue as amateurs. It was made clear to us that the local council was only going to take notice of professionals.
It seems ridiculous to have to pour big money into it, and for a small town to raise that kind of sum, but we did it. It shows the strength of feeling about the prospect of Tesco moving in.
A small team of retired residents in the town described by poet Sir John Betjeman as one of the most perfect small towns in England pored over every word of the supermarkets application.
They then commissioned professional reports to highlight the possible impact the store could have on the towns traffic system and its economy.
Seven of the towns traders, including the sweetshop, a butcher and a florist, said they would definitely shut if Tesco won permission for its 2,500 square metre store in the town centre.
A further seven stores including the post office, a newsagent and a tile shop, said they would probably close.
Mrs Byrne said: We have a medieval high street with small family shops selling local goods, and we do not want to lose it.
I want people who can give us a good service and who can tell us where the food has come from.
Weve got two butchers. The food is very, very local they can tell us the farm where the meat is from.
When everyone was worried about horsemeat, I knew that the beef burgers I bought had come from just up the road.
At a packed council meeting the residents hard work was rewarded when permission for the store was rejected by a single vote.
Peter Beer, planning committee chairman, said: The impact on the local highway network, the effect on the vitality of the town centre in retail terms and its design and impact on listed buildings were all fundamental to the councils decision.
The campaigners greeted the decision with applause.
Andrew Cann, spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce, said: Its a victory for the people of Hadleigh as it was simply going to destroy the high street, and people come here because of the environment and the independent stores.
Tesco has not ruled out appealing or putting in a new application, but Mrs Byrne said local people have already got plans for the proposed site, a plot of abandoned warehouses.
She said: People are dreaming about what would happen if Tesco would go away and let us buy the site.
The one thing we have not got is small retirement units for independent living for people who want to downsize.
Tesco said many Hadleigh residents had supported its project, which, it said, would have brought jobs and more choice to the town.
Tesco had planning applications rejected in 1987 and 2000.
A government inquiry in 2001 rejected an appeal. In 2011 a further application was rejected.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2439301/Town-took-Tesco-won--FOUR-times-Traders-raise-80-000-save-high-street.html#ixzz2hLImYaEu
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- Hadleigh councillors vote to block new supermarket to protect local shops