December 6 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Britain’s biggest beer shop raised a glass to West Norfolk Borough Council today after its expansion plans were approved.
Beers of Europe, in Garage Lane, Setchey, has been granted permission by the borough council to increase its sales space as well as building a restaurant, bar and beer garden.
The family-run business stocks more than 2,000 different varieties of beer from more than 60 countries as well as 1,000 spirits and a selection of wines and ciders.
Founder Derek Clark praised the decision as “a victory for common sense”.
He added: “It is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. If it was rejected we would have to move. An appeal would take another nine months which would take us up to next Christmas and we wouldn’t have been able to cope.
“The decision is a relief, the shop will go from strength to strength.
“We always had a dream to supply people with what they wanted and do something different.
“That is what we’ve done, you can go anywhere in Europe and you won’t find anything like this.
“The business has never been about the money it is a thing of passion and everybody enjoys working here.”
Mr Clark also praised the EDP saying: “The fantastic article in the EDP really threw a lot of weight behind us. Since the article the support has been amazing.
“We must thank all of the businesses in Garage Lane and everyone on Facebook and Twitter who have supported us.
“It makes you glad you started the business in the first place.”
Mr Clark also added his thanks to architect David Taylor and planning consultant Gordon Smith, who spoke at the planning meeting, for their efforts.
Beers of Europe attracts visitors from around the world and while much of their trade comes from online sales 50,000 people visit the shop each year. It currently employs nine full-time workers with another three employed on a part-time basis.
The expansion is expected to create at least five more jobs at the site.
Although the borough councillors had been recommended to refuse the application due to fears over the access to the site from the A10, councillors unanimously decided to approve the plans. They felt that on balance the success of the business and what it would bring to the area outweighed the potential increase in traffic.
Planning Committee chairman Vivienne Spikings said: “This is a marvellous opportunity and an example of a business trying to get on. In this day and age five new jobs are important.”
Mrs Spikings put forward the application for approval on grounds that the business would add to tourism and be a benefit to the area.
Councillor Brian Long also suggested that there may be enough room for a right-hand turn lane on the A10 at the Garage Lane junction which would help to reduce traffic on the road.
The planning committee’s decision will be good news for beer lovers with plans to hold tasting sessions once the expansion is complete.