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North Walsham Lidl demolition and rebuild set to start next week

07:45 03 July 2014

North Walsham Lidl. Picture: SUBMITTED

North Walsham Lidl. Picture: SUBMITTED

Archant

Demolition and rebuilding of North Walsham’s expanding town-centre Lidl supermarket is set to get under way next week.

Closing sign on door at North Walsham Lidl. Picture: SUBMITTEDClosing sign on door at North Walsham Lidl. Picture: SUBMITTED

The Yarmouth Road store will close at 4pm on Sunday July 13 for about six months while the work is carried out.

The timescale means Lidl will not be open for the profitable Christmas period.

A spokesman for the successful German discount chain said contractors would arrive to begin work on July 14, the day after the store closes.

Current staff would work in Lidl’s Cromer or Norwich branches until the new North Walsham store was ready.

And recruitment would begin around Christmas time for an expected six extra jobs in North Walsham, swelling full and part-time staff numbers to 28.

Lidl bought out the owners of a bungalow beside its store and the new, bigger building will have a net sales area of 1,286 sq m - more than half the size again of the current supermarket.

It would feature an improved and better bakery area, and a larger section for fresh produce, according to the spokesman.

Nicholas Lee, chairman of North Walsham Chamber for Business, said Lidl attracted shoppers to the town from a wide area and chamber members had been surprised at the length of time the store would be closed.

“It’s a Catch 22 situation. Half the time we don’t want it to shut and half the time we want a larger store there - and you can’t have one without the other,” said Mr Lee.

“A town centre supermarket is always better than an out-of-town supermarket. Lidl is expanding because the store’s a success and if that means they’ll bring more people to the town then that’s good for North Walsham,” said Mr Lee.

“They’re not going to be selling any extra product lines so our members aren’t worried about that, but the bigger size will enable Lidl to keep stocked up - so that there aren’t empty shelves. It was too small.

“I think this expansion shows that Lidl has confidence in North Walsham.

“Sainsbury’s has had a refit which showed their confidence, and Waitrose came to North Walsham, showing their confidence. It’s all positive,” Mr Lee added.

Lidl, which opened its North Walsham store in 2002, is also currently negotiating with Norfolk County Council to buy the youth and community centre adjoining its site, at the back of the New Road car park.

If approved, the building would be demolished to make way for extra supermarket parking.

Store chiefs are also in talks with the county about leasing land at the back of the New Road fire station for a further 15 car-park spaces.

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