Waitrose boss talks about Sheringham store plans

Supermarket chain Waitrose is determined to open a store in north Norfolk, either at Sheringham or elsewhere, says a company boss. The retailer has thrown its hat into the ring of the town's 'store wars' planning battle with rivals Tesco which hassplit the community in a sometimes bitter war of words and which now looks likely to be decided next month.

Supermarket chain Waitrose is determined to open a store in north Norfolk, either at Sheringham or elsewhere, says a company boss.

The retailer has thrown its hat into the ring of the town's 'store wars' planning battle with rivals Tesco which has

split the community in a sometimes bitter war of words and which now looks likely to be decided next month.

Waitrose would operate an eco-friendly Greenhouse Project store on the Weybourne Road promoted by local landowner Clive Hay-Smith as an alternative to Tesco's long-running plans on the Cromer Road.

The Greenhouse scheme, which would feature electric delivery vehicles and shopper buses, is also linked to a Norfolk Food Academy that would promote cookery and food knowledge next door.

Waitrose's development director Nigel Keen said that while Waitrose could not beat the Tesco 'value' ranges, it sought, through its 'essentials' products, to provide 'fantastic tasting' food at better prices than before.

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Waitrose had been looking at Sheringham as a possible store venue for 'some time.' When it was approached by Mr Hay-Smith, the scheme matched the company's green and local food sourcing credentials, as well as policies of supporting local farmers and running cooking schools.

'We felt we should support it to give Sheringham people another option. We would like to be close to the town centre but that is not possible. The people of Sheringham will look at both schemes. It is not for us to get into a debate about who is the best operator,' said Mr Keen, adding that, if refused, the company would continue to look for sites in Sheringham and other towns.

The Greenhouse scheme has planning policy hurdles to leap because of its location on the edge of town, while Tesco is hoping its revised plans with improved designs, and moving the store closer to existing shops, will overcome previous objections including potential impact on the existing town centre.

The provisional date for a decision by North Norfolk District Council's planning committee is now March 4.

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