Iceland in hot water over Cromer store
Ed FossThe arrival of major retail chain Iceland in Cromer could be marred by a planning row over work to the town centre store they are due to open in early December.Ed Foss
The arrival of major retail chain Iceland in Cromer could be marred by a planning row over work to the town centre store they are due to open in early December.
The frozen food chain announced in July that it would take on the former Woolworths and create more than 30 full and part time jobs.
But work on the frontage has started in recent days despite the fact planning permission has not yet been granted and with a series of objections to the lodged plans not yet addressed.
North Norfolk District Council officials have said they will consider taking formal enforcement action as soon as this week if the situation is not sorted out.
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Iceland bosses have said they do not believe the opening date of December 3 will have to be changed.
One of the objectors to the new shop front is Andy Boyce, vice chairman of the Cromer Preservation Society.
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'This is a prominent and large shop front in the centre of our main shopping street, and the site should be treated sensitively,' said Mr Boyce.
'The proposed shop front is at best uninspired and makes no attempt to reflect the character of the town.'
The fact the shop was in a conservation area meant the work should improve or enhance the area, said Mr Boyce.
'But I consider this design fails on both counts.
'The metal security grills are particularly unpleasant. They would make the centre of our seaside town look more like a neglected inner city area, where shops have to defend against nightly attacks by vandals.'
Chris Young, the district council's conservation and design officer, said the frontage would produce a 'flat and uninspired fa�ade to Chruch Street'.
The town council has also objected.
Other concerns include noise from air conditioning units and the illumination of the shop signs out of opening hours.
An Iceland spokesman said they were expecting a decision notice on the planning application today: 'If our application is declined we will consider appealing.
'At this moment in time we do not believe the opening date of December 3 will be affected.'
District council spokesman Peter Battrick said: 'We informed Iceland's architects in October that we had concerns about their plans but have not received a full response from them. Indeed we raised the issue with them again last week.
'We certainly wish to discuss the issue with them at the earliest opportunity.
'If discussions do not lead to a satisfactory conclusion, as a last resort we could be looking at enforcement action, but hopefully it will not have to come to that.'