Sheringham Tesco construction starts - after 17-year wait

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 May 2013

Work progressing on the new Tesco store in Sheringham.

Work progressing on the new Tesco store in Sheringham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

After stalking Sheringham for 17 years, the steely skeleton of a long-awaited - or long-dreaded - Tesco store is finally taking shape.

The white “bones” of the Cromer Road store have been fused together, creating a frame on which the controversial building will develop before its opening at the end of 2013.

The site is currently cordoned off with fences adorned with glossy posters about what Tesco will offer when it opens.

Tesco spokesman Simon Petar said: “There’s a real buzz about this and we are really excited to be building the store. We can’t wait to start serving customers and the community.”

Construction work signals the beginning of the end of a saga that has split the town into pro-Tesco and anti-Tesco camps, creating some sharp divisions.

Tesco’s fight to build in Sheringham began in 1996, and included a number of planning battles, a town vote which was inconclusive and the emergence of a rival plan for a Waitrose and a food academy on Weybourne Road, which was eventually rejected.

The giant firm finally got planning permission after a heated meeting at North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) in September 2010, where the consent came on the casting vote of development committee chairman Simon Partridge.

Permission hinged on a number of conditions, which have taken a while to be met, including the construction of a £2m community centre on Holway Road, to replace the old Teen and Twenty Club on Cromer Road.

The new centre opened earlier this year, while the old centre is set to be demolished in the next few months as the supermarket takes shape.

Tesco also financed the building of a new fire station on Cromer Road, opposite the site of the one that was demolished to clear the way for the store.

And it has handed over to NNDC £1.34m to provide social housing in the district, in lieu of the flats lost when it demolished Lockerbie Flats.

Nonetheless, the opening of the store is awaited with trepidation by many town-centre businesses, whose owners fear an exodus of shoppers to Tesco - despite the looming construction of a walkway between the store and the town, which Mr Petar said would “definitely” be constructed before the opening.

Construction work for the road accesses for the store has been put back to avoid clashing with the town’s main tourist season.

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