Popular chippy loses out to Co-op plan

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A petition signed by more than 1,000 residents was not enough to convince councillors to keep a popular town fish and chip shop open.

Tasty Foods, in Elizabeth Parade, has served customers for over 10 years and employs 12 part and full-time staff, but its premises are being swallowed up by the neighbouring Co-op which already occupies three buildings in the parade of shops.

The chain’s proposal to expand was approved by Forest Heath councillors at a development control committee meeting on Wednesday.

Trevor Cook, manager of Tasty Foods, said he had collected 1,054 signatures on a petition to stop Co-op from taking over his shop.

“It’s against the wishes of the local people but we have come up against a national company, so we had not got a hope in hell of winning,” he told councillors.

“It’s a commercial decision. It’s like if you lend a car to a friend and you ask for it back as you want to sell it,” he said.

Speaking at the committee, Mr Cook said it would be detrimental to the area should there only be a Co-op, launderette and hairdressers. “All they want it for is for offices,” he added.

Ward councillor Michael Jeffreys, who is also a town councillor and had backed the fish and chip shop’s effort to keep trading told the committee: “Floor space will become office space in the new development. That seems wrong. Retail space is being lost for offices.”

But in her report to the committee, council case office Charlotte Ballard said: “The concerns raised by the ward councillor and neighbouring business relate to the loss of the fish and chip shop, it is not possible to refuse planning permission on these grounds.

“The landlord has taken the choice to end the tenancy of the shop and this is a private matter not a planning consideration.”

According to its regional operations manager Mark Eldridge, the Co-op would be hiring up to 10 new staff.

Other benefits of the new premises he said would include an increased range of food and more stock, extra shorter queuing times due to extra checkouts, better staff facilities such as rest rooms and the installation of a cash machine.

“Newmarket is in an area of rapid growth,” he said.

“We can encourage more local residents to shop 
with us to boost the local community and economy,” he said.