Village store deal nears completion

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A DEAL to bring a major food store to a new village shopping unit is on the brink of being finalised.

Developer Crest Nicholson is close to confirming the Co-op as the tenants of a new shopping unit in Red Lodge, scheduled to be built next year.

The unit is the largest of six to be sited at a village centre development, directly to the south of the new St Christopher’s Primary School.

Councillors responded positively to the news, saying Co-op would be a good fit for the community.

Cllr Roger Dicker said: “This is great news, I’m especially happy it will be the Co-op.

“This has been the one burning issue in the village – everyone wants to know what the store will be.”

Matthew Lees, of Crest Nicholson, updated councillors at a meeting of Forest Heath District Council’s Red Lodge working group last Friday.

According to Mr Lees, the Co-op faced competition for the unit from Tesco but the latter’s request to reduce the store’s size was not seen as favourable.

Co-op is looking to take the 4,500sqft unit – suitable for a small supermarket – on a 15-year lease, according to Mr Lees. Tesco had asked for a 25-year lease.

The five remaining units will take on a mixture of takeaways, restaurants and offices.

Mr Lees said a pharmacy had been confirmed for one of the units, Lodge Lettings would be taking on another and two takeaways were close to being confirmed for two more.

The meeting also heard from Kathryn McMurtary, head of Tuddenham Primary School, and a representative from Suffolk County Council.

They reported that progress on Red Lodge’s new primary school was on track.

Mrs McMurtary said the school still had some issues with equipment and would be looking for solutions between now and its opening in September.