September 22, 2013

Babergh say “no” to Hadleigh Tesco

I imagine that many of our clients in Suffolk (and North Essex) will already be aware of this decision – it even made BBC news (see:

TESCO’s attempt to build a store in Hadleigh has been a long-running affair since  an initial application in 1987. There most recent application was only defeated by a narrow majority of seven votes to six at a Babergh District Council Planning Committee Meeting and related to a site “land-banked” by Tesco on the former Brett Works site in the town.

I image that the decision will be greeted with appreciation (perhaps relief) by the owners of shops in the historic town. One does have to wonder how W M Morrisons view the latest decision bearing in mind their plans for a petrol station at their relatively new Hadleigh store that opened in early 2012. Perhaps I should shy-away from courting controversy.

In declining Tesco’s application Peter Beer, chairman of the planning committee, is quoted as saying: “The impact on the local highway network, the effect on the vitality of the town centre in retail impact terms and its design and impact on listed buildings were all fundamental to the council’s decision.” From a planning point of view this goes to show how policies contained within (and supported by) the Local Development Plan can restrict development where it is (or is perceived to be) unwanted or harmful to the local environment. From a planning solicitor’s point of view, the fact that Tesco’s application was rejected by a narrow majority would indicate that the perceived harm was in the balance. We await Tesco’s response but their disappointment is evident from various comments made following this week’s decision.

David Whipps is a member of Holmes & Hills Solicitors' leading team of specialist Planning Law solicitors.

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