Poll: Fears new Next store could harm Norwich city centre

An artist's impression of the Next Home and Garden store planned for Costessey. An artist's impression of the Next Home and Garden store planned for Costessey.

Thursday, January 2, 2014
12:09 PM

A proposed £6m superstore on the outskirts of Norwich has set two councils at loggerheads over whether it would set a precedent and harm the city centre by luring away shoppers.

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Officers at Norwich City Council have objected to Next’s application for a Home and Garden Store near the Longwater Retail Park in Costessey - a store which would sell clothes as well as kitchens, bathrooms, carpets, DIY products and gardening equipment.

City Hall officers say that if South Norfolk Council’s planning committee gives the 6,663 sq m store permission that will 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.

Graham Nelson, head of planning at City Hall said: “Norwich City Council considers that to allow a retail destination of this form and function to establish, in direct conflict with the retail strategy lawfully adopted by Norwich city, Broadland and South Norfolk councils will set a wider precedent for out-of-centre retail development, including variation of condition applications on other warehouse retail parks in the Norwich policy area.”

The city council had suggested that other Norwich sites would have been better for the store, They had suggested an empty unit close to the B&Q in Hall Road or at Anglia Square.

But Next has rejected those for a number of reasons, including that existing policies state those sites must focus on a convenience food store, which is not what they are planning.

And officers at South Norfolk Council are recommending that district councillors grant the new Next store - proposed for land to the north-east of the roundabout junction of the A47 William Frost Way and the A1074 Dereham Road - permission at a meeting next week.

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.

And planning officer Chris Trett, in his report to councillors, which recommends approval, said: “The development cannot set a precedent because any future proposals will be considered on their own impact and sequential merits and in the light of any cumulative impact.”

Next has said that 156 new jobs would be created at the new store, on top of the 47 staff who would move from the current Next Home store on the Longwater Retail Park, which would close if permission is granted for the new one.

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.

South Norfolk Council’s development management committee will make a decision on whether to give the store permission when it meets on Wednesday.

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

31 comments

  • What is this "Out of Town and City Centre Shopping" of which you speak? I have almost everything I buy delivered.

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Although this particular proposal is completely inappropriate because of the appalling traffic conditions at Longwater you poll poses a wider question. No the out of town superstores are not responsible for harm to city centre shops the wounds are self inflicted due to the dire nature of them and that includes John Lewis who l8cally seem to have lost the plot.

    Report this comment

    guella

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • You're fearing again ! The council don't want people to go into the city. they keep putting up car parking charges

    Report this comment

    billythebookie

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • I see that most comments say the same thing cost of Parking. We met a shopper in Dereham a few weeks ago she came from outer Norwich because as she stated you had ex amount of parking in all the big shops around the town and nothing to pay, Most of the shops in the City were founded by the old families who have now died off just like many of the towns in Norfolk. So people do look around for the convenience of having a lot of things in the same place, Also as I saw an interview with a lady in a wheel chair who said she would love to shop in many of her local shop but access was very limited so she got a taxi to her local super market.

    Report this comment

    brockle

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Yes, it will definitely have an effect on the city centre. However, the rules for councils have changed. It is all about increasing the business rates yield now and South Norfolk are just playing the government's game. Interesting that the city council would apparently be happy with the site next to B&Q. I can't believe that would be any less harmful to the city centre - but then in that case, the City Council would have received the additional business rates. That totally undermines their (albeit valid) objection.

    Report this comment

    Tom Jeffries

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • It is not out of city stores that are harming the city centre, but City council traffic mismanagement. These out of city shopping areas are simply providing us with alternatives without the we don't want you attitude of NCC.

    Report this comment

    el84

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Andy most of what you have said is speculation, what other people might think, but why should I call it 'spouting nonsense'?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • And on the other hand, NCC are trying to restrict traffic flows to make way for the rapid transport system they want to introduce. Everything about the NDR traffic plan shows that there will fewer journeys coming into Norwich which means either they expect everyone to go by bus or people just not come into Norwich! So people will not come into Norwich and will instead go to out of town outlets - its called a statement of the ..... obvious! The planners are not very bright are they?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Consider the costs of city centre car parking at over one pound per hour versus free parking at out of town stores - no contest. The city will gradually empty - the number of times recently when I've been into shops and they haven't got my size or what I want, I'm always met with 'go online'. If the shops themselves don't decide to close down and move out of town, NCC will do it for them. However, until the totally inadequate road system around Longwater is sorted, there is no point adding any more stores. I rarely go there and if I do, make sure I'm out before 5pm, when the entire area descends into chaos.

    Report this comment

    JanieH

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Planning Commites should not control commercial decisions !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Isnt it amazing how councils are so fickle. I recall when they wanted to have a Speedway stadium which would be open in the evening there was concerns about traffic, but open a shop with hundreds of visitors during the day and its no problem. Clearly no councillor has been near Longwater Lane around 5pm on a week day....chaos!

    Report this comment

    Andy

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • I would far rather shop in Norwich city centre. However, as someone who lives several miles out, with virtually no bus service, I can't afford to drive in and pay the extortionate parking fees. Nor is it feasible to do the Park and Ride with 7 bags of food shopping, a toddler + pushchair and other shopping. Therefore, as many others are doing, I use the out of town giant 'sheds' as the parking is free and the layout more convenient. City planners have prioritised buses without improving the services so all those pointless bus lanes, one ways, pedestrianisation etc is simply turning our lovely city into a charity shopbetting shopclosed shop ghetto.

    Report this comment

    Fluffy Cat

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Consider the costs of city centre car parking at over one pound per hour versus free parking at out of town stores - no contest. The city will gradually empty - the number of times recently when I've been into shops and they haven't got my size or what I want, I'm always met with 'go online'. If the shops themselves don't decide to close down and move out of town, NCC will do it for them. However, until the totally inadequate road system around Longwater is sorted, there is no point adding any more stores. I rarely go there and if I do, make sure I'm out before 5pm, when the entire area descends into chaos.

    Report this comment

    JanieH

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • This really is a load of old toss, isn't it? A few months back a supermarket tried to redevelop a factory site in Norwich and it was refused. But then, a distant rumbling of various threats were heard on the horizon and, surprise surprise, it was allowed through on appeal. Either the various councils need to support the city centre and stand firm or they don't. Just don't try to feed us a load of bull in the meantime please....

    Report this comment

    Fenscape

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • If the mix of shopping in the city centre is worried about one shop, which might lead to others in the outskirts then something is wrong with the attraction of the City! The traffic, the planning, the parking, the cost of a journeyparking are the deciders, it is the years of hopeless mismanagement of how to sort out the traffic that is the problem. The same applies to the must have bus lanes which in isolation solve nothing. Years ago a rapid transport system was needed, other towns and cities have adopted their versions but here "The fidler still plays while the fire burns"

    Report this comment

    blackdog2

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • 156 new jobs...are these going to be full-time and well paid, or part-time and minimum wage? Zero hours jobs? . Still, at least it'll fee up space in the city centre for more betting shops. Yeah, thanks for that, New Labour...

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • The denuding of our City centres continues due to the casm the differential car parking has thrown up. Norfolks inept party politicians have failed to direct retailers. Far from favouring these out of town shopping malls, ugly shedscapes that are littering the countryside to the east, south and west of Norwich, our councillors should ask officers to work out a Norfolk wide parking fee that applies to all. As current out of town retailers are not collecting fees for parking, a Norfolk wide parking fee applying to all retailers with more than ten car parking spaces, would be fairer to the small and medium companies who are paying the taxes to our recovery, and it would be far less than the current steep rates, including this latest escapee from inner City hikes.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • The council keep raging on about traffic coming into the city centre and then complain when a store wants to open outside the city centre , thus limiting traffic coming into the city and surely traffic just coming off bypass is a better all round . Not everything revolve around the city centre and with norwich city Council record on planning issues should keep there nose out

    Report this comment

    Norwich

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • I seem to remember that when Norwich planners allowed the Chapelfield shopping complex to be built they were told it would damage trade at Castle Mall. Unfortunately, they knew better and alas have been proved wrong as anyone who bothers to go to Castle Mall will know. Planners often get things wrong and I suspect that this is another example of trying to defend their original mistake of allowing two large shopping complexes to compete against one another.

    Report this comment

    Bad Form

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Of course it would draw footfall away from the city centre!! The effect would be devastating if the New Morrisons and Asda was approved as well. There's hardly anything worthwhile in the city centre as it stands. The councillandlordsestate agents need to do more to help small independent business!

    Report this comment

    dark1988

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • The record is stuck again. Parking costs too much, Blame the Council. Too many cars on the road, Blame the Council. Its raining again, Blame the Council. Any excuse and the comments straight away start blaming the council.

    Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Instead of bleating about out of town shopping, the Council should make city centre shopping more appealing. They can start by reducing their extortionate car park charges and generally being so "anti-motorist".

    Report this comment

    Barking Wise

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Next and Outfit setting up on Gapton Hall retail park are without a doubt considerably responsible for the run down state of GY town centre.If Next had been established in a town centre shop and if Outfit had not closed the Dorothy Perkins, Burtons, Evans and Miss Selfridge branches in town because they had opened up Outfit the town would have more shops to attract footfall to other retailers. Gapton Retail park is bad for anyone in GY who does not have a car or who lives in GY or to the north of the town where congestion in summer time makes accessing the south of the borough time consuming. Time to cast Gorleston and the southern villages back to Suffolk and concentrate business and retail opportunities in Yarmouth again

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • We need another store of this type like a hole in the head. Haven't Next heard of the Range or Sainsbury? Why do we need another Next? 155 low paid jobs in retail are no incentive when all the negatives are weighed up. That interchange could in no way cope with the extra traffic and many locals do not want it.

    Report this comment

    Longsufferingpublic

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • Ingo, you are spouting typical left wing nonsense - tax, tax and tax again! And the cost of enforcing your nonsense??? How about reducing car park charges instead? The NCC increases them and then increases Park & Ride charges too. It is obvious it is only a revenue raising exercise to give them more of our money to waste and they don't actually care about the consequences..

    Report this comment

    andy

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • On what planning grounds could it be refused? Its a retail park so traffic does not come into it, these parks want big names to attract people. If its refused Next will win on appeal and there would be more cost to the tax payer. Im sorry but past Councils and past poor governments have done this and there is no way out.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • Personally I would love Next to be built at Costessey. They would put a link road to Dereham Road which is more than there is at present - in fact, I have often wondered how a housing estate, retail area and Ambulance station was deemed to be acceptable with only one road in and out? Why not put the Next development to the peoples vote? In fact, we could do with Ikea too!!!

    Report this comment

    jes2305

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • If the mix of shopping in the city centre is worried about one shop, which might lead to others in the outskirts then something is wrong with the attraction of the City! The traffic, the planning, the parking, the cost of a journeyparking are the deciders, it is the years of hopeless mismanagement of how to sort out the traffic that is the problem. The same applies to the must have bus lanes which in isolation solve nothing. Years ago a rapid transport system was needed, other towns and cities have adopted their versions but here "The fidler still plays while the fire burns"

    Report this comment

    blackdog2

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • They will be low paid jobs that are probably being advertised in Romania as we speak. A shop like Next that exclusively sells Chinese rubbish at European prices will only damage the economy long term. A few mediocre jobs now will mean less jobs in the longer term.

    Report this comment

    Longsufferingpublic

    Friday, January 3, 2014

  • I see that most comments say the same thing cost of Parking. We met a shopper in Dereham a few weeks ago she came from outer Norwich because as she stated you had ex amount of parking in all the big shops around the town and nothing to pay, Most of the shops in the City were founded by the old families who have now died off just like many of the towns in Norfolk. So people do look around for the convenience of having a lot of things in the same place, Also as I saw an interview with a lady in a wheel chair who said she would love to shop in many of her local shop but access was very limited so she got a taxi to her local super market.

    Report this comment

    brockle

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

  • I will always rather shop out of town because of parking fees and shops limited with stock. However when it comes to getting into Longwater estate I hate the queues and should I be heading for Dereham late afternoon I stay away from Dereham road inside the southern bypass as Longwater junction is awful.

    Report this comment

    JEN

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

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

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