Town centre fears

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ALTHOUGH not a Chatteris resident, I am very concerned about the viability of our Fenland town centres generally and because of that, I agree with the sentiments expressed in your front page article about the new Tesco superstore ‘Killing the High Street’ (Citizen January 18).

A town the size of Chatteris (half that of March and Wisbech) will not be able to sustain both.

It’s all very well for Cllr Peter Murphy to talk about the creation of jobs but how many jobs and businesses will be lost under the onslaught of the Tesco bulldozer?

Another factor I don’t like is the way these large store groups use the lure of Section 106 money.

The council will no doubt argue that the enormous £216k offered is for the benefit of the community but I’m not convinced that will be the case in the long run.

£50k is on offer to Cambs County Council for ‘community transports’ for instance, but no doubt that will go towards the cost of a bus service to the store to the detriment of the town centre.

The Portas report issued recently and supported by the Prime Minister, pointed to the real danger these huge out of town developments are having on relatively small market towns and he has endorsed recommendations to limit their effect.

Incidentally, the plan of the site shown as part of your article, appears to indicate that the area of land taken up for car parking is larger than that for the store itself.

Do these store groups pay business rates on the huge amount of land taken up for parking?

If they don’t they should!

REG KEMP

March