A “huge” new supermarket on the edge of North Walsham could sound the death knell for the town centre, traders have warned.

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Mair Stockdale, chairman of North Walsham Chamber of Trade, said the size of the proposed store, on the old Marrick’s Wire Ropes site, and the range of goods it proposed to sell were a cause of “very serious concern” to her members.

Mrs Stockdale was addressing Tuesday’s meeting of North Walsham Town Council’s planning committee, who have yet to decide whether or not to support developers Scott Properties’ application for a store and petrol filling station on Cromer Road.

The firm has said it was in discussion with a number of national chains about the site, but had not yet concluded any deal.

Geoff Lyon, planning officer with North Norfolk District Council, told the meeting that, at a total of 5,574sq m, the supermarket would be one of the biggest in north Norfolk.

The sales area would comprise just over 3,500sq m, of which about 2,500sq m would be allocated to groceries and about 1,000sq m to items such as kettles and TVs.

The site is about 200 yards nearer the town centre along Cromer Road than the Waitrose store which is due to open in the former Focus DIY building on November 29.

Mrs Stockdale said a small Waitrose selling food was one thing but a supermarket three times the size selling a range of goods was “another kettle of fish entirely.”

North Walsham town centre was already suffering from a decline in footfall. Chamber members anticipated that the only Waitrose in north Norfolk would draw people from a wide area. But if the Scott store opened, there would be no incentive for shoppers to go into North Walsham as they would buy anything they could not find at Waitrose in the neighbouring supermarket.

“There is a very real fear in the chamber that if this happens the town will go into a serious decline,” said Mrs Stockdale.

Mr Lyon said consultants had been appointed to see whether there were any sites nearer the town centre, and what the retail impact of the development would be. The town council agreed to defer discussion until they knew the result of the consultants’ assessments.

10 comments

  • this new supermarket and petrol station is a must, if only for all the jobs it will create. just get on and do it instead of talking about it. the town centre will take care of itself I'm sure. any investment in the town can only be a good thing.

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    mike cook

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • Out of town shopping and internet shopping is the future, high street shopping belongs back in the day. Big supermarkets work because the ordainary person in the street enjoys using them. The only people who ever object to large supermarkets are the traders (sheringham being a fine example), shoppers love them and use them. No one will come to North Walsham for what we have in the high street, but they will come for a large store as is planned. And as I keep on saying about this application, the big plus is that it has a petrol station in it, Sainsburys have 12 pumps for a town the size of North Walsham, they cant cope they are always queues and of course can charge basically what they want without local competition, get it built and be quick about it.

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    "Bin here all me life"

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • The High Street is an outmoded retail model. Why do you think these superstores are so popular,The High Street is an outmoded retail model. Why do you think these superstores are so popular? Parking is convenient and free, unlike the restricted availability of parking provided by councils who regard it as a cash generator and who police it with zealots only too ready to issue parking notices for the slightest infringement. We don't want the inconvenience of having to drag our shopping from shop to shop taking longer and paying more before staggering back to the council car park.Then of course there is the internet, that is not going away anytime soon. Constantly fighting the superstores we all find so convenient and economical and really who's volumes are the only real way to compete with internet prices is ultimately futile.

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    John57

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • I am sure that the proposed supermarket will go ahead, and undoubtedly it will have an impact on the already struggling town centre. Just come to Thetford if you want to see the impact of allowing supersized out of town supermarkets. The people living on the Kilverstone side of town have no need to go into the town centre for anything as Tesco provides every service they could possibly need.

    Report this comment

    caroline jacobs

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • If necessary, Town Centre shops will have to revert to domestic homes - which they were 200 years ago. Nothing wrong with that.

    Report this comment

    djh

    Friday, October 12, 2012

  • This report is jumping the gun a bit. Firstly the developer has to get the plans passed. Then they have to sell it to a supermarket chain which won't be easy given the size of the town & the fact that by then we will already have 3 supermarkets. So how can anyone say at this very early stage exactly what goods will be sold. Besides, it's not unusual, in fact it's quite common, for Councils to allow planning for supermarkets only on the condition that non food items such as "kettles & TV's are not sold. So in the end it should be the Council's decision on what can be sold & what can't, if it ever gets that far.

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    Mylen1um

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • That is of course a grocery centric view of the highstreet. It just needs to reinvent itself. There's plenty of other stuff that can be sold through a highstreet that the big stores can't retail and the internet can't offer. Also the highstreet can offer expertise and knowledge that a large store can't.

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    Gary Dickenson

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • How can you kill a town centre that is already dead? Apart from QD and Roys it's nothing but estate agents, building societies & banks, fast food outlets, and charity chops. The modern world of internet shopping has killed the town centres, not supermarkets. Let's not forget that this store will also bring much needed employment to people in the town. The world has moved on, people have different shopping habits these days. Waitrose plus this new store will draw people in from the local area to shop - at the moment they shop elsewhere; but that 'elsewhere' is not North Walsham town centre!

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    Pete Bogg

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • its about time we had a decent supermarket in north walsham sainsburys prices are so expensive us normal people need a normal supermarket.if people want to shop in town they will if we have a new supermarket or not.

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    kaz

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

  • its about time we had a decent supermarket in north walsham sainsburys prices are so expensive us normal people need a normal supermarket.if people want to shop in town they will if we have a new supermarket or not.

    Report this comment

    kaz

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

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

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