Tesco rethink on Stalham plans
Richard BatsonTesco has dropped plans to double the size of its Stalham store shortly before the controversial scheme looked set to be turned down by councillors.The retail giant says the move comes after listening to advice from planning officers, and that it was confident a revised project would provide all the benefits of a larger store while addressing local concerns.Richard Batson
Tesco has dropped plans to double the size of its Stalham store shortly before the controversial scheme looked set to be turned down by councillors.
The retail giant says the move comes after listening to advice from planning officers, and that it was confident a revised project would provide all the benefits of a larger store while addressing local concerns.
It comes less than three weeks after Tesco also announced it was scaling down its equally controversial plans at Sheringham in a bid to find an acceptable solution to a long-running saga.
In both towns opponents said a large store would damage the vitality of the existing town centre.
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At Stalham Tesco originally wanted to double the size of its 1,300 sq m store and up the number of car parking spaces from 189 to 362, move the petrol station and re-jig the entrance road to the supermarket and town.
The scheme has already been back to the drawing board once for changes to the road junction after a consultation two years ago.
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This Thursday the latest plans were being recommended for refusal by North Norfolk District Council's east area development control committee because 'the scale, layout and design would have an adverse impact on the character of the town,' along with concerns about road safety and flood risk.
But Tesco spokesman Nick Gellatly todayconfirmed they were being withdrawn and an amended scheme would be submitted later this spring.
He explained: 'We have listened carefully to the advice of the council's officers.
'It has been suggested that the design of the extension could be adjusted to reduce the apparent bulk of the building. We want to work up a scheme that is capable of reaching a consensus here.
'The amendments will also address issues relating to the scale of the extended store which the council's retail consultants have recently raised.
'We are confident that a revised proposal will continue to provide all of the benefits of a larger store but will also address concerns that have been raised by the council's officers and advisers'.
Town council chairman Tony Ross-Benham welcomed a re-think on the plans. His council was among those with concerns about the impact if the larger store, and he hoped Tesco would this time listen to the main reasons for disquiet rather than just tinkering with some of the traffic measures which happened after the last consultation.
'There is a need for more stock and choice, but it was too big. We would consider plans for a smaller store,' he added.