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Worries over supermarket plan

PUBLISHED: 17:46 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 14 July 2010

Concern is mounting over plans for a major expansion of a town centre supermarket, which residents fear could kill off local shops and bring more traffic chaos.

Concern is mounting over plans for a major expansion of a town centre supermarket, which residents fear could kill off local shops and bring more traffic chaos.

Sainsbury's was given permission more than 10 years ago to create a store on the former district council office site in the middle of Attleborough.

But opposition is growing over the supermarket giant's latest extension proposals, which would almost double the size of the High Street store and create almost 100 new jobs.

The plans, which would add more than 1,000sqm of extra retail space to the Sainsbury's supermarket, but would see the demolition of its petrol station, are set to be discussed by Breckland Councillors on Monday .

But the retailer has incurred the wrath of the Attleborough Women's Institute who have filed a petition signed by 30 of its members against the loss of the filling station and the proposed new entrance and exit, which they say will increase congestion problems on narrow one-way High Street.

Barbara Conway, secretary of the WI branch, said there were also concerns about the impact of a larger store on local traders.

“It was originally going to be a small town store and it only had an extension two years ago. Enlarging the store will see a lot of small shops go and Attleborough would become a dormitory town.”

“I do not think the small stores could survive if they [Sainsbury's] sell electrical goods and clothes. People in this area are not rich and if they have an opportunity to buy something cheaper, they will do it,” she said.

Attleborough Town Council has also raised traffic flow and highway safety concerns regarding the expansion, which would only result in a net increase of 12 parking spaces. Pedestrian access to the nearby Wayland Court could also be lost.

In a report to members, Chris Raine, senior development control officer at Breckland Council, said highways officials were in discussion with Sainsbury's over the access to the site.

He added that the scheme was consistent with planning policies. However, officers would be recommending refusal if the applicant did not come up with new screening and landscaping ideas by Monday (April 20) to mitigate against the impact of the redeveloped site on the Attleborough town centre conservation area.

A spokesman for Sainsbury's said the company was committed to modernising its stores and the extended supermarket would sell a wider rang of foodstuffs, fresh fruit and vegetables and an increase in the range of general merchandise.

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