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Fight to save West Earlham Mini Market goes to city hall

06:30 15 October 2012

Alan Gray, left, and Dennis Thompson with the petition to save the West Earlham Mini Market. Photo: Bill Smith

Alan Gray, left, and Dennis Thompson with the petition to save the West Earlham Mini Market. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant

Campaigners battling to save a shop described as a “lifeline for the elderly” will take their fight to City Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

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More than 500 people in West Earlham have signed a petition to stop the mini market on Wilberforce Road being converted into flats.

Organiser of the petition, Dennis Thompson, who lives near the shop, will present it to Norwich City Council’s cabinet after collecting 548 signatures.

The council has put forward designs for 14 flats on land which includes the West Earlham Mini Market.

It is planning to give the land to Cotman Housing Association to provide housing at affordable rents. If planning application is approved, the council will then sell the land to Cotman and then give the money from the sale back to the housing association as funding for the homes.

The council is also looking at a design which would include a new shop.

Mr Thompson, 71, said: “It really is a lifeline. I don’t like the idea of the shop closing. “We’re all getting older around here.”

Norfolk county councillor for Bowthorpe, Paul Wells, said: “It is a really popular store and many elderly residents rely on it.

“The council needs to think again on these proposals.”

A spokesman for the city council said: “Norwich is a thriving city with a growing need for housing.

“As a local authority, we have a role to play in meeting this need and part of our responsibility lies in finding sites with development potential.

“A design that could incorporate a shop unit is currently being explored.”

Do you have a story about West Earlham for the Evening News? Contact Norwich Evening News reporter Tom Bristow on 01603 772313, or email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk

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