March 9 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
A retail park on the outskirts of Norwich is set to benefit from a new £6m superstore.
Members of South Norfolk Council’s development management committee have approved an application for a Next Home and Garden Store near the Longwater Retail Park in Costessey.
Despite protests from Norwich City Council, the plan for the store to the north-east of the roundabout junction of the A47 William Frost Way and the A1074 Dereham Road, was given the green light after councillors unanimously voted in favour.
The store will sell clothes as well as kitchens, bathrooms, carpets, DIY products and gardening equipment.
City Hall officers claimed that the decision would set a precedent which could see more stores at Longwater look to move away from selling ‘bulky goods’ and compete directly with the city centre. It suggested alternative sites for the store including an empty unit close to the B&Q in Hall Road or at Anglia Square but Next rejected those for a number of reasons, including that existing policies state those sites must focus on a convenience food store.
Costessey Parish Council had initially objected to the store, raising concern over traffic, but subsequently voted by a “narrow margin” to withdraw their objection.
That withdrawal came after Next agreed to pay for traffic calming along West End in Costessey and to a scheme with extra lanes leading to and from the site.
Councillor Tim East said that the traffic calming measures would see average speed cameras in West End.
“Having read the documents and heard the presentation I am convinced that this is the right way forward,” he said.
Ruth Child from Peter Brett Associates said that 156 new jobs would be created at the new store, on top of the 48 staff who would transfer from the current Next Home store on the Longwater Retail Park, which is set to close.
She said more than 21 sites were discussed.
South Norfolk Council brought in consultants to look at the impact of the store, which would include a coffee shop and a garden centre, on Norwich city centre.
Those consultants concluded the new store would not have a “significant adverse impact” on the city centre.
Chairman of the committee, Joe Mooney, said: “I think the design is a great improvement on what is already there and it’s an exciting proposal. I know where the city council is coming from - it’s not true that we are at loggerheads with them.”