Tesco has bought two sites in the small market town of Halesworth in North Suffolk which has a high street of wonderful independent shops and a weekly market. Halesworth already has a sizeable Co-op and Tesco are proposing building a supermarket twice its size on a site right next to it on the edge of town.
The Town Council organised two public meetings, with over 200 people attending each meeting. Doubt has been expressed on Tesco's claim that a majority of people in the town supported the plan for a new store. In addition, a number of other criticisms have been levelled at Tesco's plans.
In their 2004 plan for Halesworth, Waveney District Council designated the site on which Tesco would like to have their new store for 58 new houses. There is a need for low cost housing especially for people without cars who need to be close to the centre of the town. There is a need to develop this site carefully since it is so close to a conservation area and, being on higher ground, is highly conspicuous There is no need for an extra retail outlet next to the Cooperative food store. Residents are concerned that an extra store would damage the existing independent shops in the centre of the town and many would close; the consequences for many other surrounding farms and businesses would be serious. An extra store would also add to the traffic and noise pollution in the town and lead to substantial increases in traffic on the narrow and twisty access roads to the town from the west and the south. Run-off of rainwater from a large building and car park serving the store would increase the flood risk in a town already prone to floods.