Poll: Another supermarket planned in Holt - do you think it needs it?

A flurry of supermarket interest in a north Norfolk town has sparked action from business leaders who have launched a campaign to 'protect' existing high street businesses in Holt.

Developers behind Gresham's School's masterplan have announced their interest in bringing a second food store into the town centre.

It follows a planning application submitted by Norwood Homes to North Norfolk District Council for an out-of-town development on the Thaxter's timber and DIY yard site, off Old Station Way.

But members of Holt's Chamber of Trade are concerned the threat of another supermarket will undermine the existing Budgens store – the largest in the UK – and affect the viability of independent traders in the town.

Chairman of the chamber John Lintott said the group had taken the stance of opposing any plans for a second supermarket in Holt.

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But he added that the proposals put forward by Gresham's would be more favourable due to its location.

These plans would see the Old School House, off Church Lane, which houses the Pre-Prep School, incorporated into a mixed use scheme.

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This would include retail outlets, apartments and a small food store.

Tim Holmes, director of Cambridge-based Endurance Estates – which has been appointed to co-ordinate a consultation with the community – said Gresham's was also sympathetic to the need for extra parking in close proximity to the town centre.

He added that there may be potential to create 50 car parking spaces with access off Station Road.

The Pre-Prep School would then be relocated to a new modern building closer to other school buildings.

Mr Lintott said: 'We do understand residents may be in support of a second supermarket but all supermarkets have an impact on a town.

'Visitors and shops are the lifeblood here because we don't have a castle, cathedral or any exceptional historical buildings.

'People come to Holt because they like the unique flavour of shops. You take away the distinctive shops, what is left to give Holt its name?'

The chamber has launched a new postcard campaign to give visitors an opportunity to express their opinions about the supermarket plans.

These postcards will soon appear in the majority of the town's shops for visitors to write their opinions on.

It was initially hoped to raise the profile of the Chamber's opposition to a second supermarket being built off the A148 by-pass but it will now include its opposition to Gresham's proposals.

The public school, founded in 1555, has been working on a masterplan to develop a single integrated campus to the north of the town.

The school believes the plan will complement the ideas detailed in the Holt Vision Strategy - a �30,000 report produced by a team of retail consultants in January - despite the fact the necessity for a second supermarket did not arise in the report.

It did however identify 45 other improvement measures to enhance the town.

A public exhibition of Gresham's plans will be held early next year.

? For more information about the scheme ring Mr Holmes on 01223 873750 or email tim.holmes@endurance-estates.co.uk.

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