May 18 2013 Latest news:
By DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP, Reporter
Thursday, February 16, 2012
A deal is on the verge of being sealed to bring a supermarket to the outskirts of Holt.
And the group behind the plans has revealed it had already turned down a “substantial” offer from Tesco to deliver what it believes is a more town-friendly food store.
The proposed site at Thaxters timber and DIY yard could create about 100 jobs and 82 free short-stay car parking spaces.
Co-director Brian Thaxter said the planned foodstore was about 1,395sq m (15,000sq ft) - about a third the size of a football pitch and smaller than the town’s existing Budgens.
He stressed: “We don’t want to harm the existing supermarket Budgens. It’s about giving people a choice. We have turned down a substantial amount of money from Tesco to get a supermarket appropriate for the area.
“It will not be a threat to other traders in the town - we are not trying to upset anyone.”
It would be a “green” store selling lots of local produce - a “supermarket for the people,” he said.
Mr Thaxter said the company had recently exchanged a contract for the purchase of the yard with specialist developer Norwood Homes, who last year advised the town council of plans to develop the land for a “retail store selling food items only”.
Norwood, who have an office at Blakeney, have said a meeting with planning officials had confirmed the use was compatible with the allocation of the land for employment.
Mr Thaxter stressed that Holt Youth Project’s neighbouring premises would not be affected.
An emerging Holt Vision blueprint seeking to help shape the town’s future, has earmarked the land off Old Station Way as a “high-tech business park”. But Mr Thaxter said he was disappointed it had not been considered for a supermarket by the masterplan as there was no call for a business park.
The store plan also includes free parking for up to two hours,
Thaxters was founded in October 1968 by his father Charles. The development move comes as Brian Thaxter retires and seeks to relocate to a new site on the Hunworth Road, in a timber, fencing, and roof felt venture overseen by son Paul but operated as a type of workers’ co-operative - again seeking not to compete with other local businesses.
“We are going to stop doing building materials and shop products, so no tools and no stains,” Mr Thaxter explained.
“We’ve done everything we can to help other traders.”
The new store design would be strongly influenced by the architecture of the former Midland and Great Northern Railway and the existing main building on the site.
Initial talks have already been carried out with the Holt Society who raised objections over concerns about the site’s heritage, which incorporates the former mill. But Mr Thaxter said the plans would include materials used from the old building.
Norwood is continuing local consultations with councillors, traders, the youth project and conservationists over the next few months.
A public consultation will take place at the community centre in early March when the plans will be displayed and a team from Norwood will be on hand to answer questions.