Decision day set for Sheringham store plans

Richard BatsonRival plans for a supermarket at Sheringham will go head to head at a crunch council meeting next Thursday March 4.The face-off is between two big high street names - one which has been targeting the town for 14 years, the other and newcomer to the battle.Richard Batson

Rival plans for a supermarket at Sheringham will go head to head at a crunch council meeting next Thursday March 4.

The face-off is between two big high street names - one which has been targeting the town for 14 years, the other and newcomer to the battle.

Tesco has been trying to build a store in the resort since 1996 in the face of fierce opposition from traders and town councillors who fear it will harm the existing vibrant town centre - a view upheld by a planning inspector who rejected an appeal by the retail giant, and also tagged the design 'mundane.'

It has come back with revised plans featuring a store that is a fifth smaller, moved closer to the town centre, and designed by renowned architects who created Tyneside's 'winking eye' footbridge.


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Waitrose would run a store promoted last year by local businessman Clive Hay-Smith in a bid to provide an alternative to Tesco. It would have electric delivery vehicles and shoppers buses, and be linked to plans for a neighbouring Norfolk Food Academy teaching cookery and food understanding.

It is on an allotment site given in a land swap with the town council which has created 200 new allotments.

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North Norfolk District Council's planning committee will debate the pros and cons of each scheme next Thursday at a special meeting starting at 9.30am.

It is a decision which will have far-reaching impact on the future of the town, and which has seen it split into vocal factions in the past.

The council has confirmed the date of the meeting, and an agenda containing officers' recommendations should be out by the end of the week.

Tesco argues its store is needed to stop the majority of locals driving to supermarkets in neighbouring towns for their big weekly shop, and that Sheringham would benefit from spin-off trade as people walked through to the town centre from free three-hour parking - particularly as the Tesco scheme is 150m from the town centre, while the Waitrose one is 1km away.

The Greenhouse scheme says it also aims to provide for the weekly shop, with an emphasis on local quality food, and a range of goods designed to complement rather than cripple the local economy. It wanted to prevent Sheringham becoming 'another Tesco town' while the sale of the store to Waitrose would bolster a community fund supporting local projects.

For a full report - including both supermarket backers answering questions set by the News - buy this week's paper.

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