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City council accused of interfering, as Taverham supermarket complex is approved again

PUBLISHED: 14:44 04 June 2014

Taverham Nursery in Fir Covert Road. Photo: Bill Smith

Taverham Nursery in Fir Covert Road. Photo: Bill Smith

Bill Smith

Norwich City Council was today accused of ‘unwarranted interference’ by its neighbours for legally challenging plans for a supermarket and retail centre in Taverham.

The proposed development on land near Taverham Nursery Centre was given the green light by Broadland District Council in January but was then subject to a legal challenge by the city council - which argued it was not an area identified for retail growth and that there were “defects in the decision making process”.

Broadland’s head of planning, Phil Courtier, apologised to councillors at yesterday’s meeting, held to reconsider the application, saying the case was “confusing and a bit muddled”, adding “but that’s where we are”.

“Norwich City Council feel quite strongly that this is a retail use that should be in the city centre,” he explained.

Government guidelines state the retail vitality of a town or city centre - in this case Norwich - should be paramount and that cannot be undermined by having other competing products of the edge of town.

But councillors argued the development at Taverham would be an ‘extension of a modern garden centre’ and not in competition with retail units in Norwich.

Voting once more to approve the application - this time unanimously, councillors on Broadland’s planning committee expressed strong opinions about the proposed development and the challenge by Norwich City Council.

“We have a responsibility to create economic development and facilities for the people of Broadland,” said Cllr Roger Foulger.

“This is a good example of how this can be done. This is an unwarranted interference from Norwich City Council. They make it difficult for people to use facilities in the city through things like increased parking charges and they rely on the people of Broadland to shop in the city.”

Cllr Tony Adams said: “Yes, I agree we have some sort of responsibility towards the vitality of the city centre but the city council and highways department have some responsibility for it as well. The city council are authors of their own misfortune - continuing to close roads to motorists, making it difficult to get in and out of the city.”

The city council sent four letters of objection to Broadland District Council before it approved plans in January, saying the proposals went against Government guidelines and was not an area identified for retail growth.

What do you think could improve shopping in Norwich? Comment below or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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