Villagers weigh in with Sainsbury's petition

PUBLISHED: 08:19 21 December 2009 | UPDATED: 07:29 30 May 2010

RESIDENTS in Howlett End are gathering signatures on a petition in the face of Sainsbury s new store plans for Saffron Walden. The Broadcastrevealed last week that the supermarket giant is proposing to route its delivery lorries along the B184, thr

RESIDENTS in Howlett End are gathering signatures on a petition in the face of Sainsbury's new store plans for Saffron Walden.

The Broadcastrevealed last week that the supermarket giant is proposing to route its delivery lorries along the B184, through Great Dunmow, Thaxted and Howlett End, to service its proposed store for Thaxted Road.

It is estimated that as many as eight delivery vehicles a day would use the route.

Sainsbury's development surveyor, Michael Morris, last week insisted that the delivery route through Thaxted is being explored but stressed that no final decision has been taken, but residents and the councils of Great Dunmow and Thaxted are understood to be tabling their objections.

Now residents in Howlett End have joined in.

Antony Wordsworth, who is leading the petition which will be submitted to the planning authority, Uttlesford District Council, said: "Saffron Walden has rightly said that it does not want extra heavy traffic through the narrow streets but little thought has, so far, been given to the affected surrounding villages."

Three options were put forward for the purposes of the petition. Of the 66 people canvassed, 100 per cent objected to the proposed route, 97 per cent objected to the superstore itself if this is the only route available, and 79 per cent objected to the store "as it will ruin the town and is completely unnecessary".

"Initially, many people thought that this was just another war between supermarkets but Sainsbury's expect only 45 per cent of its trade to be taken jointly from Waitrose and Tesco, the remaining 55 per cent is to be from 'out of town'," said Mr Wordsworth.

"This means that there will not only be extra customer traffic on the roads but there will also be serious losses to local businesses and community shops.

"Saffron Walden has already seen its fair share of retail closures, with unsightly vacant premises, but that pattern will extend over a much wider area if another retail giant is permitted in the town.

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