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Debate over £1m street development

13:01 28 November 2012

Businessman Basil Todd who has applied for full planning permission to redevelop part of Norwich Street in Dereham. Picture; Matthew Usher.

Businessman Basil Todd who has applied for full planning permission to redevelop part of Norwich Street in Dereham. Picture; Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2012

Dereham Town councillors raised concerns about a proposed £1m refurbishment of one of the town’s main shopping streets at a meeting last night (Tuesday).

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The ambitious plans, which include the part demolition and rebuilding of 14-16 and 18 Norwich Street, have been submitted to Breckland Council by mid-Norfolk entrepreneur Basil Todd, owner of Wensum Valley Hotel, Golf and Country Club at Taverham.

He hopes to create a business and residential hub along part of the street, but councillors this week raised concerns, including pedestrian safety; the impact on deliveries for existing businesses in the area; the size of the flats; and the risk that new flats would compromise the existing night time economy and other food businesses.

Robert Hambidge said: “Look at all the available shops in the High Street. I think it (proposed development) would be empty for three years then there would be retrospective planning permission for flats.”

It has emerged that the former Lloyds TSB bank, which is currently empty, would be refurbished and the building that contains PACT charity shop as well as Mariners Fish and Chip restaurant would be demolished to make way for a new building.

If approved, the development would include three two-storey retail units on the ground and first floor and four flats on the second floor.

The scale of the buildings facing Norwich street will be unchanged and the back of the building, which faces Nunn’s Way, will be three storeys high to blend in with the surrounding area.

Mr Hambidge added two of the units would be “substantial” and would need large lorries.

Town mayor and council chairman Linda Monument said the plans were very “stark”, “modern” and “ambitious” and member Timothy Birt said the drawings were not “dissimilar” to Nelson Place in Dereham.

Deputy mayor Kate Milbank said: “It would be nice to get Norwich Street tidied up.”

Up to 30 additional full-time jobs would be created, according to the planning application.

Neighbour comments are due by December 10 and a decision is due by February 8.

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