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Hundreds pack meeting over Tesco's Broadlands plans
PASSIONS ran high last night as residents opposing plans for an out-of-town Tesco on a historic Hampshire estate met those supporting the plans.
More than 200 people packed out Romsey Town Hall at a public meeting to discuss the plan under a large painting of the late Lord Mountbatten, whose grandson Lord Brabourne wants a moneyspinning superstore on the family’s Broadlands Estate.
The supermarket giant has lodged plans with the planning authority to transform the sixacre site known as the Fairground Field into a busy store which will include a 400- space car park.
But the meeting in the town hall in the market town’s square heard fears this could crush the already struggling town centre.
For Bruce Maddick, a Say No to Tesco at Broadlands campaigner, the supermarket would “pull the heart from the town”.
He said: “We say it will have an adverse effect on the centre.”
Tesco has billed the supermarket as the only way the town can bring back more than 50 per cent of its residents who shop elsewhere, as well as providing 200 jobs.
David Willox of Romsey Chamber of Commerce said studies proved out-of-town developments had a negative impact on town centres.
But some residents launched a group last week backing the superstore plan called STAR (Supporting Tesco at Romsey).
STAR co-ordinator Donna Lambe told the meeting that most of her group’s members already leave Romsey for their shopping needs because the shopping facilities do not provide everything families or lower income families want.
She said: “While Waitrose is a lovely store, many of our group feel it is overpriced and very rarely has the offers that the large supermarkets hold.
“Tesco will give the majority a choice to stay in Romsey for their weekly shop.”
Residents have until October 12 to register their views before the plan goes before the Southern Area Planning Commitee at a date to be determined.