Tesco’s plans for Lakenheath site could stop building of ‘badly needed store’

Plot of land in Lakenheath which Tesco is planning to sell ANL-150308-160929009
Plot of land in Lakenheath which Tesco is planning to sell ANL-150308-160929009
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Tesco has confirmed its intention to sell its site in Lakenheath, with new planning conditions intended to make it ‘more attractive’ to buyers.

The supermarket giant submitted proposals to Forest Heath District Council to vary existing permissions in place on the former Matthew’s Nursery site.

Despite objections from the community, the council’s development control committee recommended the amended conditions, regarding the timing of hard and soft landscaping on the site, for approval.

Proposals also submitted by Tesco for outline planning permission for 13 residential units, including four affordable homes, just north of the former nursery site were also recommended for approval.

After the company announced in January {http:// http://www.buryfreepress.co.uk/news/local/latest-news/tesco-shelves-plans-for-lakenheath-store-1-6523264|it had shelved plans for a Lakenheath store|Plans shelved for new Tesco store in village - Bury Free Press}, a Tesco spokesman reaffirmed this week that the company is not planning to build on the site, with the varied conditions simply intended to make it ‘more attractive’ to potential buyers.

Members of Lakenheath Parish Council objected to the amendments, saying the site would remain ‘an eyesore’ and that a residential development may stop the construction of a ‘badly needed store’ altogether.

In a letter to the district council regarding the proposals for the commercial site, the parish council said: “Granting approval to the proposed timing of soft and hard landscaping would essentially mean Tesco or whoever ultimately purchases the site can hold the same indefinitely without any further development.

“The site will remain an eyesore and probably dilapidate further, giving rise to a similar situation in the village in relation to Lakenheath Hall.”

Hermione Brown, chair of the parish council’s planning sub-committee, said: “Our biggest concern is the site will revert back to residential use, which could become a creeping residential area and mean the commercial site is lost.

“We said we didn’t want the residential element to occur before the commercial element, but we have been told the two cannot be looked at together.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We’re keen to provide the best chance of development on this site and varying the conditions will, we believe, make the site more attractive for potential investment and development.”

The revised conditions state that a hard landscaping scheme must by ‘submitted and approved’ before any building work commences on the site, while soft landscaping ‘shall be implemented in the first planting season’ following the start of construction.