Store gets the go ahead

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AFTER years of waiting and support, a village will finally be getting a major supermarket.

Retail giant Tesco has been granted permission to build a new store in Lakenheath by Forest Heath District Council.

The new development is expected to provide up to 80 full-time and 70 part-time jobs.

The 2000sqm store will be built on the Matthew’s Nursery site to the north of Dumpling Bridge Lane.

David Gathercole, chairman of Lakenheath Parish Council, said they had been waiting for almost eight years for the store to be put in place.

“It can only do good for the village and will bring in a lot of employment – 80 per cent of the people I’ve spoken to were behind it so we’re very pleased,” he said.

Although 12 objection letters were received by Forest Heath, a number of villagers and the parish council supported the scheme.

More than 100 people signed a petition of support and Forest Heath was sent 32 emails or letters in favour.

An empty bungalow and glasshouses will be demolished to make way for access to the site and to a residential development which has also been given approval.

The Matthew’s Nursery building will be refurbished and may be changed into a shop, offices or restaurant.

Tesco says it will now go through a six-month period of negotiation with Forest Heath to sign off conditions.

It is hoped that building can begin towards the end of this year.

A spokesman for the company said: “We are absolutely delighted that Forest Heath District Council has overwhlemingly supported our application for a new supermarket in Lakenheath.

We’ve had almost 100 per cent positive feedback from local people living in the town, who tell us they can’t wait for more choice, value and convenience that they know we can bring.”

Objections raised include potential damage to the conservation area, destruction or disruption of wildlife and that Lakenheath would become a ‘Tesco village’.

One objector also pointed out that there were already nine Tesco stores within a 16-mile radius of Lakenheath.

Forest Heath planning committee approved the application with conditions at a meeting on December 22.

A report cited ‘significant economic benefits’ for Lakenheath as one of the reasons for it being passed.

A section 106 agreement which will see Tesco give £30,000 towards parking provision and bus services was also identified as a benefit of the project.