An application for another supermarket on the outskirts of North Walsham is set to be thrown out today, because a planning chief wants to protect the town centre from commercial ruin.

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She fears another Cromer Road store, in addition to the nearby Waitrose, could suck almost half the trade and income from North Walsham town centre.

After nearly a year of discussions on a package of measures to lessen the store’s impact, stalemate has been reached - leaving a gap of £265,000 between what North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) officers want for the town and what developers Scott Properties are prepared to stump up.

NNDC’s development committee will meet this morning to discuss Scott Properties’ application for a supermarket and petrol station on the former Marrick’s Wire Ropes site. Nicola Baker, head of planning, is recommending that it should be refused.

Scott Properties want to build a store with a net sales area of about 39,000 sq ft - a bit larger than North Walsham’s Sainsbury’s. The scheme would include a petrol station and would create about 250 jobs.

Last March NNDC’s development committee approved the plan, subject to a satisfactory package of “mitigation measures” being agreed.

Their decision followed a retail consultant’s report, commissioned by NNDC, which concluded that the existing Waitrose store plus another Cromer Road supermarket would together have a 47pc impact on North Walsham town centre. The report’s findings are disputed by Scott Properties.

NNDC had originally wanted Scott Properties to contribute £1,395,000 towards schemes which would attract investment to the town centre and encourage other uses of its buildings.

The developer’s first offer was £150,000. NNDC compromised and asked for £750,000. Scott Properties increased its offer to £485,000 but has refused to budge beyond that.

The developer’s package includes:

■ £100,00 for free short-stay car parking in the town centre

■ £70,000 for street lighting and street furniture

■ £100,000 for improved pedestrian links to the town centre

■ £50,000 for a rates holiday to help town-centre businesses

■ £50,000 for shop-front redecoration.

But NNDC, backed by North Walsham Town Council and the town’s chamber for business, believe that the complete proposals fall far short of what would be needed, and that some would not be relevant.

Chamber chairman Nicholas Lee said there were more than 100 businesses in the town centre, including Sainsbury’s, and if the retail consultant was right, far more jobs would be lost with the new store’s arrival than it would create.

Mr Lee believed many residents only wanted the store because of the associated petrol station, bringing much-needed competition for Sainsbury’s garage. The chamber would not object to another filling station, but not attached to another large supermarket.

5 comments

  • I thought that the town centre parking bays were doomed The precinct is unoccupied, five charity shops, and numerous estate agencies otherwise there is nothing to attract the public into town. Car parking charges the nightmare of the bus stops near the Post Office all adjacent to two pedestrian crossings, footpaths that are not wide enough for a pram or invalid chair, Thursday market and traffic mayhem are the reasons why people now shop out of town. The planning committee would be well advised to take a wander into town and then recognise that North Walsham is already a lame duck, scruffy, dirty empty shops, and living in the fifties

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    Claire Voyant

    Friday, January 24, 2014

  • there Is hardly anything left in town anyway everyone in north walsham wants the supermarket and especially a new petrol station why do they never listen to the public

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    kaz

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

  • Amazing, the same people on face value act on behalf of the town centre businesses are those who charge huge business rates, over charge for car parking and live in Sainsburys pockets. They own centre is in the predicament it is because of them and changing shopping habits. So instead of more local jobs people will travel further to do their shopping. Afterall other than Sainsburys, Roy's, QG and Lidl what else is there in the town centre (unless you need a bank, burger or new home)?

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    KeithS

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

  • there Is hardly anything left in town anyway everyone in north walsham wants the supermarket and especially a new petrol station why do they never listen to the public

    Report this comment

    kaz

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

  • Live in NW, off to Stalham Tesco after lunch, big shop needed. Anything we can't get there we'll get in Waitrose. NOW................how does that help NW town centre???

    Report this comment

    Windless

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

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