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Current central and local government planning guidelines all support our viewpoint 

Contrary to the Inspector’s views for a supermarket on this site

Conclusions of the Public Inquiry, 1995:

Find the whole document here.

41.92. I consider that the proposed development of a supermarket would be likely to prejudice and harm the vitality and viability of the town centre.

41.94 in my view, Hadleigh has as much if not more chance to compete and survive as a vital centre and living Conservation Area by continuing to offer the diversity and speciality of convenience shops which it clearly displays at the moment and which is one of its main attractions. However, in Hadleigh, where the vitality and viability of the centre is I believe so dependent on small shops, which occupy listed buildings, I conclude that the proposed development would be harmful both for the vitality and viability of the retail centre and the character and appearance of the Conservation Area which relies heavily on keeping shops in use.

41.98. Walking the well-used paths up Constitution Hill and then across the fields to Coram Street, one can look down upon the town and again see the High Street across trees and meadows. The large roof of the store, the expanse of some 200 parked cars, and the continual movement of vehicles would be set out below one and would intrude upon and radically change the view for the worse. It would be impossible to hide such development from the vantage points on the Hill which allow a unique opportunity to view the old market town. I accept that the area is not in continuous view but people climb hills to gain a good view, and to stop and look round, and I consider that it would be most undesirable to alter the present view of Hadleigh by introducing such development.

We do not believe there is a need for another supermarket.

In the Babergh Local Plan Alteration No. 2 Issues Report – Public Consultation – January 1999

Hadleigh Town Centre.

While there has been much recent speculation about a new food supermarket in the town centre, we are not putting forward any new site for retail development. We do not believe there is a need for another supermarket.

You can find the whole report here.

(The Hadleigh Society comments on other aspects of this report can be found here.)

The Impact of Large Foodstores on Market Towns and District Centres

A recent study by C B Hillier Parker to examine the impact of large foodstore development on market towns and district centres concluded:

Our research has shown that large foodstores can and have had an adverse impact on market towns and district centres. The level, and consequences, of impact will vary depending on the particular local circumstances of the centres concerned. Smaller centres which are dependent to a large extent on convenience retailing to underpin their function, are most vulnerable to the effects of larger foodstore development in edge-of-centre and out-of-centre locations.

It is vital that those responsible for the future of market towns and district centres take positive steps to improve the range and quality of food shopping in these centres, and adopt a cautious approach to considering the location and likely long term consequences of the development of large foodstores in non-central locations.

This research report, The Impact of Large Foodstores on Market Towns and District Centres (ISBN 0-11-753478-1) 1998 is published for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions by the Stationary Office, price 20.

A summary can be found here.   Key points include:

bulletAlmost 45% of local authorities consider retail and transport impact methodologies are inadequate, and are concerned about the objectivity of assessments, the lack of reliable base data and the ease with which variables can be manipulated.
bulletOur research suggests that a combination of the absence of a consistent and workable methodology to assess impact and dearth of available base data has led to significant failings in proper planning control in the past. Many local authorities consider large foodstores have had an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of market towns and district centres.
bulletOur research identified impacts on market share of between 13%-50% on the principal food retailers in market towns and district centres as a result of large foodstores in edge-of-centre and out-of-centre locations. The decline in market share for the town centre convenience sector as a whole ranged from 21% in St Neots to 64% in Fakenham, and 75% in Warminster.
bulletIn Fakenham the number of convenience retailers in the town centre declined from 18 to 13; vacancies increased by 33%; and there was a noticeable deterioration of the built environment of the town centre following the opening of an out-of-centre foodstore.
bulletimpact of large out-of-centre and edge-of-centre foodstores is not limited to convenience retailing, but can also adversely affect comparison and service uses. For example, in Fakenham the reduction in turnover of six comparison retailers ranged from 3.7% to 18.9%.
bulletdecline in the turnover of town centre foodstores (38% impact in the case of Tesco in Cirencester). This can and has led to the closure of some town centre food retailers.
bulletin Fakenham some 46% of the trade of the out-of-centre Safeway is derived from clawback of expenditure. However, in this and other case study towns, this has led to no tangible benefit to the town/district centre.
bulletSmaller centres which are dependent principally on their convenience shopping function are generally less able to adjust to a transfer of food trade to less central locations. Where foodstore proposals are disproportionately large compared with the size of the centre, the new store can supplant the role of the centre. Smaller centres therefore require additional 'protection'.
bulletgreater onus on local authorities and developers to adopt a positive approach to sustaining and enhancing market towns and district centres. They should assess thoroughly all potential town centre opportunities before advocating less central proposals.
bulletWhere there is no need for a foodstore (i.e. no qualitative or quantitative deficiency), then no additional foodstores should be developed.
bulletAll foodstore proposals over 1,000 m2 net sales, on the edge of, or outside market towns and district centres, should be accompanied by a Combined, Retail, Economic And Traffic Evaluation (CREATE
bulletit is critical that local authorities develop proactive strategies for these centres.

House of Commons Debate, 11th March 1999

The Hillier Parker report was much referenced when the House of Commons recently debated the impact of supermarkets on our environment and our way of life, particularly in the context of North Norfolk. 

You can find this reported in House of Commons Hansard Debates for 11 Mar 1999.  In this debate the Minister for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning (Mr. Richard Caborn) stated

bulletThe report confirms what we already know: large food stores on the edge of market towns can seriously damage the vitality and viability of their centres. It provides further justification for the Government's policy.
bulletIf there is no need for additional development, there will be no need to identify additional sites. Local planning authorities should adopt a plan-led approach to handling planning applications involving new retail developments. As we have recently made it clear, where retail development is proposed, but was not envisaged in the development plan, applicants should show the need for additional facilities, and that a sequential approach has been applied to the selection of the site. When that has been established, and if an out-of-centre site has been chosen, the local planning authority is now required to take into account the likely harm to the development plan strategy, accessibility by a choice of means of transport, the likely effect of the proposals on overall travel patterns and the likely impact on the vitality and viability of existing centres, and on the rural economy.
bulletTaken overall, the impact of a proposal on the vitality and viability of the rural economy is a material planning consideration that local authorities should take into account in deciding planning applications involving retail development. There is scope for local planning authorities to consider those factors, and to determine whether collectively they would have an adverse impact on their town centres and/or the rural economy more generally.
bulletAuthorities should discourage inappropriate proposals--proposals for developments for which the need has not been established, or for developments that are too large in relation to the centre.
bulletLarge food stores built on the outskirts of market towns attract people at the expense of town centres, and do not add to net overall employment in food retail.
bulletWith fewer people visiting the town centre, trade would be lost, there would be less new investment, and closures and overall job losses could well result.
bulletI hope that planning authorities take account of what I have said this evening, and that it will be "material" to their planning regimes.

Environmental Impact of Supermarket Competition

Discusses the application of PPG6. 

Will the planning constraints change?

There are reports that the DTI wants to relax the present planning constraints, perhaps influenced by Wal*Mart's potential to drive down prices.  We will be closely monitoring this area.  

Planning Documents