THE man tasked with safeguarding the future of Braintree High Street has rejected concerns a new budget supermarket could reduce trade in the town centre.

Braintree Town Partnership chairman Rob Ely insists proposals to build a new Aldi supermarket in Millennium Way, Braintree, will not lead to a fall in visitor numbers elsewhere in the town.

Aldi submitted a new application to build a shop in Braintree back in July - three years after its plan to set up a store in Great Notley was rejected.

Critics have suggested the shop could draw visitors away from the town centre, but Mr Ely has played down those concerns and believes the high street has a different appeal to the likes of Aldi.

He said: "It may have a small impact but there is also a chance it may see more people from outside the town travel into the centre.

"I don't think our high street is really going to be in direct competition with the likes of Aldi.

"What the partnership is really looking to do is make the high street all about social time and services for visitors.

"The concerns over Aldi are probably more to do with supermarkets but I'm sure some people will see more choice as a good thing."

The proposed Aldi store would be put up on the same site where a new DIY warehouse will be built.

Cressing Parish Council has objected to Aldi's application and echoed concerns about the affect it could have on other shops in Braintree.

Fears have also been raised about the added traffic the new shop could bring due to the planned car park, which could have 155 spaces.

Resident Colin Haines said: "I don't agree with the location and worry it will cause major traffic congestion.

"There are a lot of homes being approved for Cressing and there will probably be hundreds of more cars in the area so this will only add to that problem."

A single letter of objection has been submitted to the council over the proposals, which have also been opposed by Braintree Council's environmental health team which has raised concerns about delivery vehicles accessing the store.

Aldi, which already has a shop in Reid Road, Witham, says its proposals could potentially create 50 new jobs.

A spokesman added: "We are delighted to have submitted a planning application seeking permission to open a new Aldi store on a site adjacent to Millennium Way.

"Aldi has been looking at opening a store in the town for some time, and we are looking forward to bringing our full range of award-winning products at low prices to Braintree."