Council backs Soham supermarket expansion

AMBITIOUS plans to expand a supermarket in Soham were given council backing this week.

James Retail Ltd applied to council planners to almost double its Budgens store, in Clay Street, to create extra selling space, community rooms and an enlarged police centre.

At a meeting of the Planning Committee on Wednesday, the plans were given backing by councillors, who were keen to boost jobs in Soham’s town centre.

It is understood it would provide a further 10 full-time jobs, on top of 35 staff employed at the superstore.

Council officers recommended the plans for approval, saying the development was needed to ensure Soham was to become a “vibrant and economically successful town centre”.

In a report to councillors, officers said: “Soham is the second largest settlement in the district but has a vulnerable town centre.

“It is vital that new retail floor space is created within the centre to strengthen and regenerate it, improve the quality and quantity of the retail on offer and, thereby, creare a vibrant and economically successful town centre.”

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Architects behind the proposed expansion, nicol thomas, told planning officials that because of houses to the east and west of the store, the extension would have to take place at the front of the development, out into the existing car park.

The architects added that a consultation was carried out in store in October last year, with 96 per cent of 273 people surveyed supporting plans to expand the store.