Tesco shelves plans for Lakenheath store
Supermarket chain Tesco has announced it is shelving plans to open a store in Lakenheath.
It is one of more than 40 planned stores across the country to be scrapped by the British retailer.
The site of Matthews Nursery, in High Street, was approved for the 2,000sqm supermarket in 2011 by Forest Heath District Council.
A Section 106 agreement, outlining payments worth more than £300,000 from Tesco to local stakeholders including Suffolk County Council, was signed off in 2012.
Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said: “It was with a heavy heart that I announced last week that we are unable to proceed with 49 planned new store developments across the UK, including our planned new store in Lakenheath.
“I knthis news will be a real disappointment to many people in the local community and we’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received for our plans. I am very aware of the importance of the site to the local area and I am determined that we will work closely with Forest Heath District Council to find the right solution for the local community.”
Leader of Forest Heath District Council, James Waters, said: “It is very disappointing news. I think the village has been looking forward to Tesco coming in for some time. However, its current climate has led us to the situation we are in now.
“My hope is that Tesco will relinquish that retail facility and another store will come into the area, to create jobs and a service for local people. I think the village needs that and deserves that.”
Cllr Waters said he believed the district council, along with Suffolk County and Lakenheath Parish Councils, should work together with the community to ensure a positive future for the site.
“We want to know what Tesco’s intentions are and if there is anything the council and the community can do to help with that,” he said.
Lakenheath Parish Council chairman David Gathercole said: “We are extremely disappointed. The parish council had been trying for several years to attract one of the big supermarkets into the village, so when we were first told we were going to have the store we were over the moon.
“We had written to Tesco on numerous occasions about the derelict site with no reply. Now it will unfortunately continue to be an eyesore in the village.”