Soham retailer’s “concern” after supermarket approval

Soham Superstore Site, at the junction of The Shade and Kingfisher Drive.

Soham Superstore Site, at the junction of The Shade and Kingfisher Drive. - Credit: Archant

SOHAM retailer Jonathan James says he has “significant concerns” over East Cambridgeshire District Council’s decision to approve a new 41,000sq ft supermarket for the town.

Jonathan James (owner of James Graven/Budgens in Soham).

Jonathan James (owner of James Graven/Budgens in Soham). - Credit: Archant

Councillors on the planning committee voted unanimously to approve plans for the store, despite the recommendation from council officers that the development should be thrown out.

There has still been no announcement from Harrier Developments, the firm behind the plans, as to which retailer is set to move into The Shade side.

Speaking to Convenience Store, a specialist trade magazine, Mr James said: “We have to acknowledge the decision, but I have significant concerns over planning policies being ignored and the fact that despite having a Retail Impact Assessment from an independent expert warning of the impact on the town centre, the members still approved it.”

Both council officers and an independently appointed consultant said that there were more suitable sites within the town and said any development at The Shade could harm the viability of shops in the town centre.

Mr James had also announced in the run-up to the meeting that he had received offers from two major retailers stating that they would buy his town centre Budgens outlet on the condition that councillors rejected The Shade proposal.

The councillors were unmoved at the meeting however, and voted overwhelmingly to approve the Harrier proposal.

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