EXCLUSIVE: Wait for new Shade supermarket operator could depend on Newmarket decision

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

THE operator of the much-anticipated new supermarket in Soham may not be known until a long-running planning dispute is settled in nearby Newmarket, it was revealed this week.

Harrier Developments, which won approval for a new supermarket in The Shade back in May, was required to provide an update on its progress to a meeting of the planning committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council last Wednesday.

Councillors asked whether Harrier was in a position to name an operator for the new supermarket, but a spokesman revealed that negotiations with “two interested parties” may not be settled until a planning dispute in Newmarket is settled.

The dispute involved all four major supermarket retailers, two of which are appealing against decisions to refuse them planning permission.

Forest Heath District Council granted approval for a replacement Tesco supermarket at its current location in Fordham Road as well as a Morrisons in Exning Road back in May.

But the development control committee turned down applications for a Sainsbury’s on George Lambton Playing Fields, with a five-screen Odean cinema at the site, and an Asda on land backing on to Rowley Drive.

The issue is set to rumble on into the autumn as appeals by both Sainsbury’s and the Unex group, which is proposing an Asda store, against their rejections have gone to the planning inspectorate.

Most Read

In the event that all four supermarkets are granted permission to build on appeal, it is unclear where that would leave interest in The Shade.

Harrier’s Liz Dent said at the meeting: “We are expecting a ‘call-in’ on the Newmarket supermarket decision so we don’t think we are going to get a firm commitment from the two providers we are talking to, however, discussions are progressing.”