Co-op continues its campaign to stop out of town supermarkets opening in Whittlesey

PUBLISHED: 11:02 16 August 2012 | UPDATED: 11:41 16 August 2012

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THE Co-op is continuing its fight against plans for a superstore on the egde of Whittlesey claiming a new store would "seriously damage" the town centre.

Fenland District Council is due to re-visit previous applications from Sainsbury’s and Tesco to create a new store in Eastrea Road at a specially convened meeting of the planning committee on Wednesday August 29.

Co-operative Food - which has a store in the town - claims that both new schemes would seriously damage the town’s existing retailers, drive shoppers away, and threaten future investment in the town. The company has formerly raised its concerns again with Fenland District Council, objecting to the proposal.

Andy Pepper, regional planning manager for The Co-operative Food, said: “We want to reiterate our objections to the two applications, ahead of the next planning committee meeting, because we fear that approval of either development will seriously damage Whittlesey town centre

“If both applications are accepted, the cumulative annual turnover is likely to be around £56 million, a huge figure that would be at the expense of town centre stores.

“We stand by our objections to these plans, which would seriously threaten the vitality of the town centre in Whittlesey, as shoppers will be less likely to visit when they can do their shopping out-of-town.

“We would welcome further investment into the town centre. However, two large supermarkets within an out of town will not provide a fair playing field for the rest of the centre to effectively compete with this new competition.

“We are proud of the role that our Co-operative Food store in Whittlesey plays within the community, as well as our membership-led activity, such as our Community Fund.

“We know how our store, alongside the other independent traders, plays a key part in keeping Whittlesey vibrant and attractive to visitors, but without steady trade, many of these stores will be drastically affected.”

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