Iceland is set to be taken to court after a second planning inspector threw out its appeal against a notice to redesign its Cromer shopfront.

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North Norfolk District Council is today expected to agree to begin legal action to force the superstore firm to abide by previous orders relating to its unlawful Church Street fascia.

Three years after developing the shopfront without permission, Iceland could finally face judgment day for what inspector John Bell-Williamson said caused “unacceptable harm” to Cromer’s conservation area.

Mr Bell-Williamson was the second inspector to rule against Iceland, after in February the firm appealed an NNDC decision to refuse a retrospective planning application.

A report to today’s NNDC development committee says: “While every effort has been made to guide the applicants towards producing an acceptable solution, it is clearly of concern that to date no acceptable proposals have been formally proposed.

“The development committee has twice resolved to refuse replacement shopfront designs, and on both occasions the decision has been upheld by the planning inspectorate at appeal.

“The council therefore has no alternative other than to consider the further options open to it, including prosecution.”

The application has divided opinion, with opponents including Cromer Preservation Society arguing that the designs are out of keeping with the town centre, and the council calling the designs “flat and featureless”.

But supporters, and Iceland itself, argue that the design does not look out of place among some of the other shopfronts in the town, while suggesting that the previous shop, Woolworth, was not particularly attractive.

Mr Bell-Wilkinson, whose appeal findings are in the development committee papers, said: “The appellant asserts that the frontage of the building’s previous retail use did not make a positive contribution to the area’s character and appearance.

“As concluded by the inspector in the earlier appeals, I consider that this is not a good reason for permitting a replacement shopfront that harms the conservation area.”

He said he took into account a poll on the North Norfolk News’ website, www.northnorfolknews.co.uk, which found the majority of those taking part supporting the existing design. He also acknowledged that the building provided local employment and a good service.

But he added: “None of these matter are sufficient to outweigh the harm that I have found with regard to the proposal’s effects.”

18 comments

  • How unsurprising that the "Cromer Preservation Society" have again stuck their tuppeneth in! What a dismal, dreary life they must lead stifling trade and jobs in our town. Have they seen Bargain World?? Do they honestly believe that continually blocking progress is in the towns best interest? utterly cretinous

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    paddler

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • So Mr John Robert Bell-Williamson has thrown out the appeal by Iceland...supporting the previous finding by his colleague Nigel Burns. They are both known appeal dismissers at the Planning Inspectorate. Iceland were really unlucky to get Burns in the first place. In the last quarter 2011-2012 he dismissed 13 cases out of 13...Iceland had no chance. Now along comes Bell-Williamson with a past last quarter record of of dismissing 14 out of 20 cases, at least Iceland had a 33 percent chance with him. I bet they wish they got David Hainsworth or Paul Clerk. David only dismissed 4 out of 14 and Paul 5 out of 16. It is all down to getting the wrong planning inspector at the right time etc.

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    Rhombus

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • And that part of the street is so beautiful in all other respects, isn`t it? Perhaps Iceland should have a statue of the Batman villain, Mr. Freeze, out on the pavement. Set up a theme along the whole street, like the jolly butcher further along. If all other shops followed suit it would keep the NNDC`s Jobsworth Dept. busy with complaints about the blocked pavement......

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • Whilst all these people make good points, they are rather missing the fact that Iceland made the alterations without permission. Regardless of whether it looks appropriate or not, if the council allowed everybody to carry out work without authorisation, the whole planning system would collapse. Time for some meaningful discussions between all parties, I think. As far as our crab pot Christmas tree is concerned, I would assume it will come down on 12th night and not stay there for three years.

    Report this comment

    crunchy dick

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • I'm sure the front of Iceland looks a lot better than a boarded up shop window with closed down written on it. What do the local people actually think of it?

    Report this comment

    ggj666

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • It doesn't look any different (to my eyes anyway) to the original Woolworths store. Kazg1980 rightly points out it would be standing empty and possibly boarded up if Iceland hadn't taken it over. More of an eyesore is the old Art Deco building further along and there are many others in Cromer. Why pick on Iceland perhaps they should take their business elsewhere.

    Report this comment

    caroline jacobs

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • If i was Iceland i know what i would do close the shop and open in a Town then there would be another empty shop see how they would like that.

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    Lynnstarsmonkey2

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • First thing I see on the high street is Bargain World. That sticks out like a sore thumb.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • If the inspector from NNDC turned round and looked across the road, he'd see a line of hideous, flat-topped, flat-fronted buildings, quite out of keeping with the town, all of which (presumably) got planning permission.

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    Henry Gee

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • We shall have our say at election time NNDC, but hopefully you will lose this court case before then anyway, in the meantime Iceland, I suggest you close the shop and move to North Walsham we would be very pleased to have you,as would our councillors. There has got to be a hidden agenda here against Iceland otherwise why such a fuss over nothing ?

    Report this comment

    "Bin here all me life"

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • from what i understand iceland are not arguing over the refusal of the existing shop front as they have already admitted they done wrong. the arguement is about thier redisigned front x2 perhaps if the planning concentrated more on the revised plans and not on the insitu shopfront they would get far more results. and as for the "in keeping" of cromer the opposite side of the road makes me cringe as has been said flat roofed flat fronted multi-coloured plastic shops must be a candidate for spoiling cromer main road through the town???

    Report this comment

    i am mostly wrong??

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • One is left wondering what are the rules that these Inspectors employed. Rules they make up themselves might be the answer. There is so much more in Cromer that needs sorting out. They should devote their time an our money towards more pressing issues. If they'd like a list I'm sure many posters on here would willingly give them their thoughts

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • If the inspector from NNDC turned round and looked across the road, he'd see a line of hideous, flat-topped, flat-fronted buildings, quite out of keeping with the town, all of which (presumably) got planning permission.

    Report this comment

    Henry Gee

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Stephan Watson said, "in keeping" of cromer the opposite side of the road makes me cringe Totally agree with that

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • How unsurprising that the "Cromer Preservation Society" have again stuck their tuppeneth in! What a dismal, dreary life they must lead stifling trade and jobs in our town. Have they seen Bargain World?? Do they honestly believe that continually blocking progress is in the towns best interest? utterly cretinous

    Report this comment

    paddler

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

  • It is impossible to know what profit margin Iceland makes at their Cromer branch. However, it may be that when they take the costs of replacing the shop front into consideration that it is cheaper to close the shop? In that instance and in the current economic situation it may well be that the shop front will then up being covered in graffiti covered plywood. Still, it will only add to others along the High Street so I don't see the problem!

    Report this comment

    Douglas McCoy

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • Yet another prime example of NNDC wasting taxpayers money,They should be thankful the shop was taken over after woolworths closing & not left empty like many others are,It looks the same as boots opposite & any other Iceland! They are quite happy to have the monstrosity of a 'Christmas tree' in the middle of town yet make a fuss about a perfectly decent looking store,stupid if you ask me.

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    Kazg1980

    Monday, December 10, 2012

  • If the inspector from NNDC turned round and looked across the road, he'd see a line of hideous, flat-topped, flat-fronted buildings, quite out of keeping with the town, all of which (presumably) got planning permission.

    Report this comment

    Henry Gee

    Monday, December 10, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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