Pakefield store saga takes a dramatic turn

PUBLISHED: 13:18 18 April 2014 | UPDATED: 13:18 18 April 2014

The Tramway Hotel and Pub in Pakefield which could be turned into a Tesco Express.

The Tramway Hotel and Pub in Pakefield which could be turned into a Tesco Express.

Archant © 2012

The controversy over plans for a new Tesco store in Pakefield have taken a twist when a senior council officer concluded a decision to halt the company’s proposals should be quashed.

Two weeks ago, there were jubilant scenes at Lowestoft Town Hall when members of Waveney District Council’s development control committee chose to ignore legal advice and planning guidance by ruling that the Tramway Hotel in Pakefield was a mixed use business and not simply a pub.

The decision dealt a blow to the supermarket giant’s moves to convert the building in London Road into a new Tesco Express store without first submitting a full planning application.

But, in what has been described as “sticking two fingers up to the residents of Pakefield”, Waveney’s monitoring officer Arthur Charvonia has now recommended that the councillors’ decision should be overturned.

In a report to be discussed by a full council meeting on Wednesday, Mr Charvonia points out that the committee ignored the advice from a barrister who said the Tramway was only a pub – and warnings by Waveney’s head of planning Philip Ridley that doing so could be deemed unlawful.

If the committee’s motion is overturned this week, it would pave the way for Tesco to go ahead with its plans to convert the Tramway into a store, having already won approval to extend the building.

The report to Wednesday’s full council meeting also includes fresh advice from barrister Josef Cannon, who says Tesco would be likely to win an appeal against the decision to classify the Tramway as “mixed use”.

At a meeting last week, the development prompted calls by anti-Tesco campaigners for people to take part in a third protest outside Lowestoft Town in a bid to persuade councillors to stand by the committee’s decision.

Bob Blizzard, chairman of Pakefield Opposed to Tesco, said: “If the council decide to quash the decision it will completely let down the people of Pakefield. It will be like sticking two fingers up to residents if the decision is reversed. It really is a shocking recommendation.”

In his new report to the council, Mr Cannon says he sticks by his original independent advice that the Tramway was just a pub.

After considering Mr Cannon’s report, Mr Charvonia concludes in his recommendation to the full council “that the decision of the extraordinary development control committee, made on 2 April 2014 – that the Tramway Hotel be recorded as mixed A4 and the appropriate C class use – be quashed.”

Tesco unveiled its plans for the Tramway 17 months ago.

Tesco, which already has three stores in the Lowestoft area, says its new store would create 20 jobs and benefit Pakefield.

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