December 20 2013 Latest news:
By RICHARD BATSON
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Supermarket chain Iceland has revised designs for its controversial shopfront at Cromer, having been threatened with legal action over the design which does not have planning permission.
The store moved into the former Woolworth’s shop in Church Street three years ago, bringing a welcome boost of footfall and jobs back to a key town centre site.
But Iceland’s red-framed, roller-doored frontage has been at the centre of a planning wrangle, and split of opinion among locals, ever since.
When the company did apply it was turned down by North Norfolk District Council after some vocal local concerns, including from the town’s preservation society, as well as officers’ own reservations about a “flat and featureless” design in what is part of the town’s conservation area.
Others suggested that the previous shopfront, and some of those around it, were also not particularly attractive either.
But the second of two planning appeals, both of which supported the rejection, saw inspector John Bell-Williamson confirm he felt the shopfront caused “unacceptable harm” to Cromer’s conservation area.
The district council was poised to take the company to court to enforce against the illegal frontage, but Iceland asked for a stay of execution to come up with new designs, which have now been submitted.
The latest application says it aims to respond to the criticisms raised by the planning inspectors about there being an unbalanced shopfront, by having two recessed in and out doors providing more symmetry.
It also reduces the depth fo the fascia to the same as the previous Woolworth one, and will see the roller shutter removed.
Iceland says its new plans seek to provide a shopfront which is sympathetic to the conservation area while meeting operational business requirements.