End in sight for Walsham store snarl-ups

The end is in sight for long queues and congestion at a north Norfolk supermarket after store chain Sainsbury's promised that work on a second car park exit would at last begin in January.

The end is in sight for long queues and congestion at a north Norfolk supermarket after store chain Sainsbury's promised that work on a second car park exit would at last begin in January.

The company's North Walsham store, in Bacton Road, has had permission to create the new junction since October 2008 but has so far failed to start the work.

The delays have been a source of frustration for many shoppers, who have had to endure a long wait as they try to leave the town's main supermarket via the mini-roundabout outside the store.

Doreen and Trevor Neild, of Swanton Abbott, said they had always tried to avoid visiting


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at weekends because of the congestion but had found weekdays increasingly difficult too.

Mrs Neild said: 'It's a nightmare sometimes. We used to think during the week was better, but it's just the same now.'

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Her husband said: 'It's trying to get out, especially with people who are getting petrol wanting to join the queue as well.'

Now, Sainsbury's has confirmed it will begin the work at the beginning of 2011.

A spokesman said: 'We are committed to improve the car park of the North Walsham store for our customers, and the works for the second exit will be included as part of a store refresh in January to minimise any further disruption.'

This week's news was welcomed by people around the town, including councillor Sheila Gadsden, who said it was a great

pity it had taken so long to get this far.

She said: 'I'm delighted to hear it will at last happen. I use the store quite often, and when I take the car you often have to park to get out.

'There's also a safety factor. The present exit is by the fuel station: if there's going to be a fire how the heck does anyone get out?'

Sandra Whitwood, of North Walsham, was doing her family shop at Sainsbury's at the weekend. She said: 'I think it's a good idea. It gets very busy: sometimes you can't get out because the roundabout gets blocked.'

Sainsbury's said it was sorry for the continuing disruption and promised to keep the town up to date with the plans.

A company spokesman said: 'We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused and will keep the community informed as works progress in the new year.'

North Walsham's county councillor, Paul Morse, said he was pleased to hear the work was poised to begin but still had some reservations about the impact it would have on the store's neighbours.

He said: 'For the town as a whole it is good news, but I do worry about the impact it will have on Mundesley Road. It should lead to better disper-sal of traffic around the system.'

North Norfolk District Council granted planning permission for the work in October 2008 despite concerns from townsfolk about pedestrian safety and extra traffic noise.

The application was for an additional exit on Mundesley Road, to ease congestion at the main Bacton Road entrance, which is the only route available for shoppers and petrol station customers coming in and out at the moment.

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