Fears for Chatteris town centre as Tesco store is given the go-ahead

general view of the new Tesco's in Chatteris
general view of the new Tesco's in Chatteris

THE approval of a new Tesco supermarket in Chatteris has caused mixed reactions from the town.

The plan for the Fenland Way site was given the green light by Fenland Council last Wednesday and Harrier Developments is hoping to start work later this year.

But several local people believe the development will ruin the already struggling town centre.

One businessman, who wants to remain anonymous, has always spoken out about the proposal and continues to object.

“This is a sad day for Chatteris High Street and the small shops and businesses that trade in it,” he said. “I firmly believe it will kill the High Street.”

But Chatteris Mayor Peter Murphy spoke out in support of the supermarket and said it will bring much-needed employment to the town.

He said: “We’ve known this was coming for a long time. I know people will be disappointed but it was there for everybody to have and Tesco got in there.”

Mr Murphy was unwilling to comment on the potential effect on the High Street and would only say that “time would tell”.

“It’s a business and we’re open for business in Fenland,” he added.

The site is currently vacant land north of Honeysome Road Industrial Estate and will see a Tesco store and a new premises for Travis Perkins, who are currently located in London Road, Chatteris.

Liz Dent, the agent dealing with the application, said: “Harrier Developments and Tesco are delighted with the planning decision and are fully committed to starting work as soon as possible.

“However, as with any large development, there are a number of requirements and conditions to be fulfilled before building can start.

“As things stand at the moment, Harrier Developments are hoping to begin work later this year with a view to Tesco and Travis Perkins being open in Spring 2013.

“It is early days at the moment but as the weeks progress, the time frame will become clearer.”

While the town council and one resident came out and supported the plan, ten letters of objection were received, with concern over anti-social behaviour, increased traffic and loss of wildlife.

An objection was submitted on behalf of Musgrave Retail Partners, who own the existing Budgen store in Wisbech. The letter stated that an up-to-date health check of the town centre has not been carried out and suggests the larger store will harm the “vitality and viability” of the town centre.

The plan was approved on the basis of several conditions being adhered to by Harrier Developments, including making highway improvements to Fenland Way, building a new roundabout, constructing an underpass under Fenland Way and upgrading street lighting.

Section 106 payments also have to be made to district and county councils, totalling £216,500.

They include a £75,000 to Fenland to enhance open space in the town, two payments of £50,000 to Cambs County Council as contributions to community transports and improvement of pedestrian and cyclist facilities and £41,500 to Fenland as a CCTV contribution.