Sheringham poll fails to give massive support to either of two rival supermarket plans.

A town is split right down the middle over a store wars battle it has emerged as a parish poll failed to give an overwhelming majority support to either of two rival supermarket plans.

A town is split right down the middle over a store wars battle it has emerged as a parish poll failed to give an overwhelming majority support to either of two rival supermarket plans.

After five hours of voting which saw nearly half (44.3pc) of the 6,000 population turn out, a long-running Tesco scheme attracted 1,180 backers, and a Waitrose plan 1,165.

But, of the 2,667 who casted their casting vote, 1,131 said no to a Waitrose development and 1, 205 said they did not want a Tesco store.

The results mean planning councillors who will debate both schemes again in two weeks time on October 14, have no clear mandate over how the town feels about the contentious issue.

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The poll asked three questions demanding a yes or no answer, concerning support for the Greenhouse Community Project incorporating a Waitrose Supermarket, Food Academy and Kitchen Gardens on the Weybourne Road site and the Tesco proposals to build a Supermarket on the Cromer Road site, or whether residents prefer Sheringham to remain without any supermarket development.

The poll has shown there seems to be overwhelming support for there actually being a supermarket in the town, as 82pc (1,568) who voted said they wanted a supermarket in Sheringham, as opposed to 523 who said they did not want any supermarket development.

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As the results were announced, both sides remained optimistic about what the poll showed.

Tesco spokesman Michael Kissman said: 'This is a clear yes for a Tesco in Sheringham. For years a small minority of people have claimed a supermarket is not wanted in the town, but now the poll shows 82pc of people do want a supermarket in the town and the majority of those people said they would want a Tesco.'

However, Simon Hall, spokesman for Greenhouse developer Clive Hay-Smith, said the poll also showed a strong vote for the Greenhouse Community Project as well.

He said: 'This shows how the town is divided, but at least it has been a democratic display to show that.

'We are not downcast, this is a democratic process, which is good, we have a strong vote in favour of Greenhouse Community Project, it is almost 50/50.'

Others said the poll showed what many have known for years.

Pro-Tesco supporter Jono Read said: 'I do not think the poll has been massively conclusive. There has always been a split and this highlights that, it does show however there is support for Tesco in the town, but there is no clear result here.'

Tesco's plans are for a store on the Cromer Road that would result in the fire station and community centre being replaced, plus a walkway through to the town centre, which they say would generate spin off trade from the store shoppers, who currently have to drive to neighbouring towns for their big weekly shop.

The Greenhouse scheme next to the Splash pool on the Weybourne Road, also includes an educational food academy, new allotments, and community charity fund, along with eco-friendly electric buses and delivery vans.

Planning officers favour the Tesco scheme, because it is closer to the town centre, and say the farther flung Waitrose would cause more harm to local traders. But councillors voted to back the Greenhouse scheme in March, but officers wanted the soundness of the decision, which went against policy, checked before it was confirmed.

On October 14 the scheme, and revised Tesco plans, go back before the development committee.

Tesco's battle to get a store in Sheringham dates back 13 years and has been fought by a vocal local campaign, led by the Sheringham Campaign Against Major Retail Overdevelopment.

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