Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Monday, February 25, 2013
Developers behind a proposed large supermarket on the edge of North Walsham have agreed to look at changes aimed at improving safety.
A Scott Properties chief met North Walsham town councillors last week to discuss the firm’s plan for a 5,575 sq m (60,000 sq ft) supermarket and a petrol station on Cromer Road, creating 250 jobs.
The town council agreed last month not to object to the scheme, on the former Marricks Wire Ropes site, subject to a number of conditions.
Councillors are especially concerned about safety on that stretch of Cromer Road where a Waitrose supermarket opened last year and where visitor attraction Davenport’s Magic Kingdom is under construction.
They fear danger to pedestrians in the area and problems caused by queuing traffic waiting to enter or leave the proposed store and petrol station.
The council handed over its conditions “wish list” to Scott Properties’ managing director Martin Scott when he met members in North Walsham on February 19.
Mr Scott agreed to look at incorporating an emergency-only access on Link Road for use by police, fire and ambulance vehicles needing to enter or leave the development.
The firm’s highways consultant will also talk to Norfolk County Council about reducing the speed limit in the area from 40mph to 30mph.
A spokesman for Scott Properties said they had agreed to meet councillors again in two or three weeks’ time to discuss other items on the wish list, including the provision of a free town-centre car park and establishing a fund to help deal with derelict land or empty properties near the town centre.
He was unable to name the supermarket which might join the town’s existing Sainsbury’s, Lidl’s and Waitrose, adding: “We are talking to all the supermarkets but they will only commit to the scheme once planning permission has been granted.”
North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) development committee is due to discuss the application on March 14.
An MWA consultant’s report, commissioned by NNDC, disputes Scott Properties’ retail impact assessment of its proposals.
The MWA study claimed trading in the town centre and main food stores would be suppressed to “unacceptable levels”.
It said: “The Sainsbury’s store would experience very dramatic reductions in turnover along with the Lidl supermarket, and both of these stores are important in maintaining and enhancing the vitality and viability of the town centre.””
But the Scott Properties spokesman said retail consultants had discovered that there was a very significant “leakage of spend” from the town - caused by people shopping outside North Walsham.
He added: “Our store would reduce the leakage of spend from the town and as such would be very beneficial to the town.”
Margaret Foster, clerk to North Walsham town council, said the meeting had been useful. She added: “It was called at the request of the town council with the purpose of pointing out councillors’ concerns, particularly on highways issues, with the hope that Scott Properties would address at least some of them.”