Paston College principal very wary of approach by supermarket developer
07:00 05 March 2013
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012
A developer who wants to talk to Paston College about building a supermarket on one of its two sites would have to convince its governing corporation that it could offer something “absolutely world-class” and failsafe, according to principal Kevin Grieve.
The developer, whom Mr Grieve declined to name, has approached the North Walsham sixth-form college with an offer to relocate it and build a supermarket on its Lawns site.
The unexpected announcement came at the end of a North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) cabinet discussion on Monday about potential supermarket sites in central North Walsham.
NNDC had been exploring ways of attracting more people to the town centre who would then visit other shops.
A report for the council had concluded that its Vicarage Street car park was viable, but there was no interest from developers or large stores.
The Lawns site was also dismissed because of Mr Grieve’s commitment to improvements there, including just over £700,000 worth of new student services facilities now under construction.
But after the discussion cabinet member Trevor Ivory said NNDC had become aware on March 1 of a developer’s interest in Paston.
Mr Grieve said the developer’s proposals would be discussed by the corporation at the end of the month, but he added that students, staff and governors were very happy on the present campus.
The presence of nearly 900 young people in the middle of North Walsham was important as they used the shops and other services, making a “massive contribution” to the town’s economy.
He added: “It’s a fantastic college, among the top 15 in the country in terms of success.
“It’s important that we work to maintain our success and I don’t want my attention diverted from that strategy. I don’t want to spend a lot of time discussing proposals which are unrealistic. I want to make sure our results continue to be good every year and that we carry on sending students to the top universities.”
Paston expects to hear shortly whether a £1.5m bid to the government’s Building Condition Improvement Fund to refurbish its science block at the Lawns has been successful.