Supermarket demolition decision on way

A decision is finally to be made on plans to knock down a town centre supermarket.There have been proposals to redevelop the site of the Rainbow supermarket in Beccles since 2005 but progress has stalled between Waveney District Council and the landowners, Anglia Regional Co-operative Society.

A decision is finally to be made on plans to knock down a town centre supermarket.

There have been proposals to redevelop the site of the Rainbow supermarket in Beccles since 2005 but progress has stalled between Waveney District Council and the landowners, Anglia Regional Co-operative Society.

Now the Co-op has lost patience and has demanded that a decision be made as soon as possible on the plans to demolish the supermarket to make way for seven retail units and 28 flats.

The proposals have been met with opposition from residents who say the flats will overlook their houses and that they have not been consulted. Councillors and planning officers visited the site in Gosford Road last night.

David Bennett, a spokesman for the residents of Grove Road and Gosford Road, said: “The problem arises from the height of the flats. They are going to be two storeys on top of the shop units. They will be able to see in the downstairs windows and gardens of houses on Gosford Road.

“We are surprised that Rainbow wants to redevelop this building as it is only 20 years old. But people want to see a quality development here and not a retail park so close to the town centre and housing.”

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“The retail units would create more traffic with lorries coming in, adding to the increased traffic flow to the new Focus and Tesco stores.”

Wendy Riches, of Gosford Road, wrote to the council objecting to the plans. She said: “My home will be overlooked. I work as a registered childminder and need a safe, private property.”

But John Chillcott, food executive at Anglia Regional Co-operative Society, said: “We are keen to get on with the development. The planning delays are as frustrating for us as they are for everyone else and we are just trying to move it on as fast as we can.”

Beccles Town Council opposed the outline plans and said it was disappointed with the way the Co-op had gone about submitting the application.

Consultations with local residents and councillors had been promised but have never happened. Michael Doherty, a councillor for Beccles, said: “We have been given very little information about the details of the plans.”

A decision will be made by Waveney District Council at its rural planning meeting next month.