Consultants warn of impact of out of town superstore on viability and vitality of Soham town centre

PUBLISHED: 12:27 12 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:27 12 February 2013

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

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

Archant

CONSULTANTS advising East Cambs District Council on the likely affect of a major out of town supermarket at Soham claim the impact may have been under stated.

Alison Hutchinson, partner in Hutchinson’s consultants of Kimbolton, has told the council that: “We consider that the impact figures for Soham town centre are low and also unrealistic”.

The Hutchinson report is the latest in a series of documents being made available to the council in advance of reaching a decision on the Kingfisher Centre put forward by Harrier Developments Ltd.

Ms Hutchinson says the biggest impact is likely to be felt by Budgens in Soham who had previously put forward expansion plans that would have included a community facility.

“Representatives for Budgens have indicated that a planning permission for the proposed store at the Kingfisher centre would jeopardise development at their store,” said Ms Hutchinson.

Although such a claim needed to be treated “with some caution” she did agree that if Budgens halted their plans it would have a detrimental affect on the vitality and viability of the town centre.

The report says that whilst the new store would generate jobs “we still question whether it will provide any real positive benefits to the town centre itself.

“It is unlikely to generate linked trips and due to the amount of convenience floor space to be provide will serve largely as a neighbourhood store and cater for both main food and top-up shopping.”

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