Historic England lodges objection to town's supermarket project
- Credit: GOOGLE EARTH
The guardian of the country's historic townscapes and environment has objected to proposals for a large new supermarket in the heart of historic Halesworth.
Historic England says the plans for the store could harm the centre of the town, which has many listed buildings.
It is worried about the impact on the conservation area and views from The Thoroughfare - the main route through the town since the 1300s.
Historic England, the public body that looks after England's historic environment, said: "Historic England objects to this scheme.
"The proposed foodstore would result in less than substantial harm, moderate to high on scale, to the character of the Conservation Area.
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"The Halesworth Conservation Area demonstrates the slow development of an East Anglian market town. The medieval plot boundaries and street patterns survive well into the modern day.
"It would sit within one of the important sightlines between the buildings on Thoroughfare to open land behind and is against the grain of backland development in the vicinity."
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No operator has yet been identified for the food store, which would be built behind the Thoroughfare and off Saxons Way.
The plans have received general agreement from residents, who say there is a need for an extra supermarket and it could bring people to shop in the town. Halesworth Town Council is also in favour provided some alterations are agreed, including to the setting and design of the building.
The plans were submitted last September by Hans House Finance Company Ltd, of Metfield, for a 1.4-acre site currently occupied by a number of buildings including retail and residential and part of a public car park.
The single-storey supermarket would be 1,894sq m in size. It would create 30 new jobs.
East Suffolk Council is still analysing the plans and it is not known when a decision will be made.
It is understood the developers have been asked to provide a series of documents, including archaeological and ecological appraisals. Highways says a transport assessment is needed and has lodged an objection because of lack of information.
The developers have also submitted revised layout plans to try to overcome Historic England and the town council's concerns - turning the building around and increasing the area in front.
Agents AML Architecture Ltd said there was a “perceived need” for a food store in the town and it would help invigorate and “contribute substantially” to the town centre without any detrimental impact to the listed buildings or Halesworth Town Centre Conservation Area.
AML Architecture have been approached for comment on Historic England's concerns.