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Store wars - you have YOUR say

PUBLISHED: 08:14 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 10:27 13 July 2010

TO those wanting a Waitrose in Sheringham, there is an out-of-town store that will meet your exclusive and expensive food needs. It is a local shop that will support the local economy.

TO those wanting a Waitrose in Sheringham, there is an out-of-town store that will meet your exclusive and expensive food needs. It is a local shop that will support the local economy. It contributes money to towns. It can be reached by numerous modes of bus from Sheringham town centre too and will drop you off at the door of the store.

It is Bakers and Larners of Holt.

EDWARD JOHNSON

Cromer Road

Holt

ALL companies seek to make profits. This includes Waitrose who would extract just as much profits from Sheringham as Tesco for less in the trolley.

BRIAN FARROW

Beeston Common

Sheringham

A SUPERMARKET that has just this week started selling ostrich eggs at £18.99 per egg and last month launched cashmere toilet roll shows the low earners are not a priority at Waitrose.

MAUREEN DUNCAN

Woodland Rise

Sheringham

ISN'T it time our prospective MPs got off the fence and told us their position on the supermarket debate and outcome of March 4. Voters will want to know their stance when they vote in the forthcoming election. They have hinted their position but nothing has been said publically.

JOHN MOORE

Norwich Road

Holt

WHY not give Sheringham a Tesco and allow those that want an enviromentally friendly option to use Waitrose's home delivery service? Both sides are catered for and it means no planning laws are ignored.

DANIEL NAYLOR

Weybourne Road

Sheringham

I HAVE no strong feelings either way about the Tesco store in Sheringham, but I have considerable sympathy for its supporters who complained about the behaviour of North Norfolk District Council members on March 4.

Ironically, the substance of their complaints matches the substance of complaints that were made against Norfolk County Council one year ago when it granted planning permission for a waste composting plant in Marsham. I attended and spoke at that meeting.

The planning system is complex and unless councillors are required to attend training sessions throughout their term of membership of a planning committee, aberrations like this will occur.

LELSEY WILLOCKS

Allison Street

Marsham

ROBERT Barker claims those supporting Tesco are "ignoring the facts" about Waitrose when there was outrage over the latest council decision, so let me provide some truths about the store he supports.

Mr Hay Smith, in November 2009, wrote to the North Norfolk News claiming his supermarket is the best around for green credentials because it would heat the Splash pool and the store would also use wind turbines. He also said that the food academy could only happen with the supermarket.

As it turns out, according to the council, Splash uses its own form of heating that would not require renewable energy from elsewhere and that the idea would be “unfeasible”. The wind turbine, only enough to power the tills, was also offered to be scrapped by The Greenhouse Project after complaints. The food academy will also only receive funding from Mr Hay Smith, not Waitrose, and he will stop funding in three years. So if this is the real reason councillors were for the scheme, why couldn't it have been proposed separately?

There are also huge question marks from officers over the Sanders 'electric bus' scheme which could become a limited service if proven to be unpopular leaving no other public transport link to the store. Moreover, there are no pedestrian links for this store. So how "revolutionary" and "sustainable" is this supermarket in reality?

JEREMY WILLIAMS

Holway Road

Sheringham

I FEEL compelled to write after reading the latest store wars article and following the Stop Tesco Campaign for months and years.

I love Sheringham. I'm from Sheringham and my grandfather was one of nine who all lived and worked in Sheringham. They, along with other established families, helped make Sheringham what it is today as did generations before them. You see the old family names on road signs and still see some of the businesses thriving in the town.

My grandfather was a butcher, uncle a baker but before you snigger there wasn't a candlestick maker! Their jobs and those of their brothers and sister gave them independent means of supporting their families kept them passionate about what they did and gave them a sense of pride. They didn't need to rely on a huge faceless company whose only passion was the mighty pound and damn the little people who get in the way of that.

A lot of Sheringham's appeal for those who live here and those who visit is that it's unique. It's a beautiful town where people still have families they see and businesses they own. People know each other, talk to each other and look you in the eye when you walk down the street.

I fear that the introduction of a Tesco will change the delicate dynamic of our beautiful town, damaging it socially as well as economically. Yes there may be a few jobs created, however lots of independent retailers will be forced to close due to the great big Tesco machine. People's self esteem will plummet, all for the benefit of cheaper baked beans. It's not a trade-off you need to consider for long. Tesco can't come to Sheringham!

Please don't support the move to introduce a Tesco and ruin our town. If people want to go to a supermarket Cromer is only four miles away and an ethical Waitrose option which doesn't create total gridlock on the Cromer Road and close down our shops has got to be a better option. You only have to look at the Waitrose ethics of practice to know it will help do what is best.

Please do the right thing and keep Sheringham special. Don't support a Tesco.

DIANA TRANT (nee CHILDS)

By e-mail

WHAT has Jono Read done to the poor anti-Tesco brigade? Andrew Lawn, who must have some admiration for Jono for setting up his own Facebook group about Tesco in Sheringham, believes Mr Read is not worthy of having a say in the debate while Eroica Mildmay (SCAMROD) asks how the Holt resident deserves a say.

I am part of Jono Read's Facebook group for a Tesco in Sheringham and, while no doubt he would like to see a Tesco in the town, he is acting on behalf of the 750 or more people who have registered interest in his group.

That is far more than Eroica Mildmay claims to speak for and far more democratic than how our councillors have represented us. He both is a real local character and is one of the few to take a stance against the inconsistencies of the anti-Tesco debate.

I have seen many anti-Tesco campaigners using the supermarket in Holt, as we do not have one ourselves, some go in the direction of Cromer. We can use the other towns' facilities but, according to the anti-Tesco brigade, those from Holt and Cromer cannot have a say. How does this add up?

As planners at the council say, everyone is allowed an opinion if it is based on planning and it is a collective effort of North Norfolk taxpayers' money that fights this store. Furthermore, both Ms Mildmay and Mr Lawn and their families have been in our town for just a handful of years. How does this compare to Jono Read and family who have true history in our area?

A final point I must add is that a number of speakers who stood up at the council meeting were from Norwich, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England. These weren't on the Tesco side, they were on the anti-Tesco side. If anti-Tesco campaigners really believe no one from outside Sheringham should have a view on the future of our coastal towns, why did they allow their speakers to be from over 20 miles away?

CORDELIA RICHARDSON

Cromer Road

Sheringham

WE are told by correspondents that it is Tesco's fault we are expected to pay a huge tax bill for their store proposals. I disagree. It is those that oppose Tesco that have caused the town to split into two and the way they have based they opinions as fact has only made pro Tesco campaigners more determined to see the store arrive here.

The town council and district council consistently have made demands enticing Tesco to return, which it has rectified, only for it to be turned down again. The planning inspectorate in 2008 even said there was a need for a supermarket on Cromer Road.

Since proposing to come to Sheringham, Tesco has moved into the town, it down scaled, it changed the design and it is now on public transport links. It answered every demand. The real legal mess is the fact councillors approved Waitrose.

CATLIN NASH

Holway Road

Sheringham

IT is clear that the Sheringham supermarket issue is one that cannot be solved by fine words and legal arguments.

It is for this reason that councillors exist, to look at the broader issues of the communities that they serve. Officers exist to guide them in their decision making but their opinion is merely that, an opinion.

Members of the planning committee made a decision to reject Tesco's application and approve the Greenhouse project. They were continuing the decisions of many previous councillors and the Government's planning inspector. The difference is that they not only rejected Tesco they chose an alternative.

We all make choices every day, whether we choose milk chocolate or dark chocolate does not make one right and the other wrong. Apparently when we buy anything the final decision is based on the emotion of how we feel. The decision for the Greenhouse is characterised by a belief in an innovative project that is far more than a supermarket and that will even return 10pc of its profits to the community. No contest at all when compared to a Tesco model that has blighted communities around the world.

We can never please all of the people all of the time so we can only be true to ourselves. We can be assured that when we make a decision from a position of integrity then we feel good. If our feeling good depends on gaining the approval of others we will be sorely disappointed.

ROBERT BARKER

Nelson Road

Sheringham

HOW refreshing to see Sheringham enthusiastically pulling together for the opening of the level crossing. It gives such a warm feeling around the town, appreciated by visitors and locals alike.

This after 14 years of division regarding the supermarket. We have a person in our town who has vision which will make Sheringham stand out amongst others and give us facilities to be proud of. The councillors have voted for Clive Hay-Smith's Greenhouse Community Project. What an opportunity for the town to stand out from the crowd and have something individual.

Tesco won't take no for an answer. Three times it has been turned down. Surely there must be an end to these delays. Sheringham wants its supermarket, there is no split in this, just let them get on and build.

I cannot understand why people can't accept that Clive Hay-Smith is a generous benefactor to the town, having such vision, to make us an even more individual town than it is at present. I would like to thank Clive for this vision and for caring about Sheringham. Mr Upcher was a benefactor, his gift of the sea defences is just one of many of his projects. I doubt that he was given a hard time for his offers of assistance.

The councillors have made the right decision. Let's go ahead and get the supermarket we want. Tesco, just accept that you are not wanted in Sheringham.

MARY ADAMS

Sheringham

HAVING seen the letters (March 18) I was inspired to stick my head above the parapet and come out in support of this Greenhouse Project.

It seems to me that this plan delivers too many benefits to our town to turn away for the sake of it. I wish there had been a place like this food academy at my school when I was a lad. Having been brought up in a 'make-do-and-mend' environment I had plenty of 'outdoors' experience as a nipper but could never make a living out of it as there weren't the qualifications open to us then.

Now Sheringham has a chance to provide for its future generations through schemes such as this, well it amazes me that anyone, particularly anyone young or worried by the economy, could oppose something so patently positive for both? I say let's back our councillors in their decision and stop all this bickering. After all, we're footing the bill.

PAUL JONES

Sheringham

ACCUSATIONS have been made that some councillors acted incompetently at the planning committee meeting on March 4. If this is correct, the fault is not entirely theirs. Some blame must lie with council officers.

It is the duty of councillors to be fully prepared for meetings. Councillors should have sufficient information to enable them to make decisions. The majority of the information is obtained from council officers. Only if new information is introduced at a meeting which requires further consideration should the decision be deferred to another meeting.

It is the duty of council officers to assist and advise councillors. The officers have to ensure that councillors have accurate information to be able to make decisions that are beneficial, not detrimental. The help can be given prior to a meeting or during the meeting. Sometimes the opinion of officers is not the correct advice.

The previous Tesco application in 2007 was recommended for approval by the planning officers. The councillors disagreed and decided to refuse it. The officers had to defend the councillors' decision at a planning inquiry. The planning inspector decided that councillors had made the right decision even though it went again the recommendations of the officers.

The opinion of independent retail experts can only be based on previous experiences. The circumstances of each situation differ, what works in one location may not be successful somewhere else even though the factors are similar.

Many visitors to Sheringham have spoken to me over the 15 years since Tesco decided to make north Norfolk part of its empire. Not one of those thousands of people have told me that having a large store, not just Tesco, in a small town, is beneficial to the community.

There may appear to be an initial improvement to the shopping choice, but the loss of small independent traders and other services leads to a restructuring of the town centre with a much reduced retail area.

When councillors have to make a decision on a major retail planning application they have to look beyond the shopping needs of the area. They have to protect what is already there. They have to consider what impact will there be on all elements in the district.

Frequently changing guidelines from central government do not help the councillors and the officers.

How much can you rely on advice from central government when its retails advisers are the chairmen of supermarket companies?

PETER COX

St Peters Road

Sheringham

TESCO has proposed the supermarket in Sheringham which paid professionals have been found to be most effective in Sheringham and least likely to effect the high street.

This comes from planning officers and independent consultants. It is also the one supermarket proposal to comply with national and local planning laws. We did not pay these planners for councillors to ignore that. The law should apply to all, including Waitrose, not just Tesco.

KIRSTEEN REYNOLDS

Nelson Road

Sheringham

AS regular visitors to Sheringham over many years and now almost weekly after a move to North Walsham, we have followed the Tesco debate with interest.

Having seen the damage done by major retail overdevelopment to many small towns, in particular that done by Tesco, we thought we were in full agreement with SCAMROD. That is until recently when we saw that they were supporting the Greenhouse/Waitrose supermarket plans. This makes a complete nonsense of their position.

We agree that Waitrose have a more ethical trading policy than Tesco but both proposed supermarkets are of the same size and will thus have the same overall effect on the town! Oddly I have not yet seen explained just how a large supermarket can destroy a town's shops.

Businesses like shops can go bankrupt if they lose just a small percentage of turnover as this can take the shop from profit into loss.

It is not necessary for the competition to take all the trade, just part! So any development which takes the number of shops beyond the number needed to supply the area will cause some existing shops to close to bring the supply back to the level of demand.

Those who suggest that a supermarket close to the town would promote business in the town have failed to understand human nature. Most of the people who want Tesco want a one-stop-shop so even if it is close to the town people's natural laziness means they will not shop in the town.

So, SCAMROD, please be consistent. The Greenhouse project is no better than Tesco and actually is a worse fit to the planning rules. I fail to understand what the councillors who voted against Tesco but for the Greenhouse project were trying to achieve. This is the most ridiculous decision possible. It fails to give those who wanted a new supermarket their choice and it fails to protect the town's unique quality which could only be maintained by refusing any new supermarket development.

GORDON HATHAWAY

North Walsham

CAN we please put the Sheringham supermarket fiasco into context?

Tesco has spent 13 years refining its plans, taking on board all the objections and planning concerns and listening to local people and their requirements.

At last it has put forward a planning application that not only meets those requirements but which also has the backing and support of the planners, the council's own retail experts, the highways authority and the bulk of the local community.

Eighteen months ago another plan was cobbled together and presented for consideration. This planning application was and is flawed to the hilt.

Quotations from planners and those in authority include:

The 'Greenhouse Project' was found not to be the best 'sequentially available site' closest to the town centre.

It is poorly served by public transport.

It would harm the town centre.

It is against national and local planning policies.

It is not in a 'sustainable' location.

Acceptance of its proposals would breach planning policy.

The Tesco plan is considered to be the best yet, having met with all the requirements asked of it.

Now, are many of these quotations not, precisely, the same as those levelled at Tesco over a period of 13 years? They all sound very familiar to me. Why is the Greenhouse project so different?

It is pretty clear from all this information which application should be successful.

It seems, however, that district councillors, who think they know better, have a different agenda.

NEIL BATCHELOR

Water Lane

West Runton

THREE points in answer to some of last week's letters.

James Brinsden states that Tesco: "Is simply not wanted by the vast majority of Sheringham's residents, traders and elected councillors". It may not be wanted by councillors, many of whom do not live in Sheringham, but it is certainly wanted by the vast majority of people I know who actually live in the town.

Andrew Lawn states that: "Most of the pro-Tesco comments come from outside Sheringham". A look at the addresses from which letters have been sent during the course of this debate shows that this is simply not true.

Eroica Mildmay states that: "Waitrose's leading basket item prices are very similar to those of Tesco". Again, this is simply not true, as recent online basket price comparisons by newspapers show. The Waitrose basket of basic essentials is in many cases almost twice the price of the Tesco basket.

ELIZABETH REES

Beeston Road

Sheringham

THE SCAMROD representative said she believes class does not exist in Sheringham any more. A fine example of ludicrous statements from the organisation!

As the sociologist Skeggs wrote in 2004, class is not just based on economical factors but culture too. While the working class will only be able to afford Tesco, the higher classes will try to avoid following the same routine as these lower classes.

For example, a Waitrose, where a national newspaper weekly claims that an average shopping basket is at least £5 more expensive than Tesco and Morrisons. Next time you are near a Waitrose have a look at those who shop in there, you won't see the working class there. For these reasons I still believe class remains a major factor in the Tesco debate.

G E SMART

Beeston Road

Sheringham

A LETTER in January from Sheringham councillor Penny Bevan Jones responded to a complaint about affordable and social housing and the council's stance on where the money could come from.

She is, of course, the cabinet member for Housing and Supporting Communities. So you would have thought her values and job would welcome £1.2 million from Tesco for social housing as well as the additional affordable housing homes being built. Of course on the day of voting she chose to ignore this and she did not mention that the money is desperately needed.

It is no wonder there are issues with housing in Sheringham if the cabinet member cannot even address ways of funding it.

RACHEL BAMBOROUGH

Park Road

Upper Sheringham


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