Tesco has won its 14-year battle to build a supermarket at Sheringham by the narrowest of margins – on the casting vote of a planning committee chairman.

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Committee chairman Simon Partridge whose casting vote won the day for Tesco

After a five-hour debate and 7-7 split, North Norfolk District Council development committee chairman Simon Partridge voted in favour of the Cromer Road scheme.

It looks to have ended months of debate and division, but sparked outrage from supporters of the rival Greenhouse Project Scheme,
whose founder Clive Hay-Smith stormed out of the meeting at the end.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Michael Kissman said the decision, greeted by cheers from Tesco supporters, was based on the company providing the store which would benefit the town the most.

The company would be looking at the conditions, which included building materials and operating hours, but was “keen to get on with the project”.

It will have to build a replacement for the fire station and community centre which will have to be knocked down to make way for the store.

He told the meeting that Tesco’s plan was in the best location, had real benefits and asked councillors to be wary of people’s perceptions of the company.

The evidence of spin-off trade was based on experience elsewhere, rather than “fears of what might happen”.

Waitrose looks unlikely to challenge the decision. Director Nigel Keen said earlier in the day “We are not renowned for appeals. If communities don’t want us it’s their decision.”

Hours of presentations by officers and pleas from more than 20 public speakers representing both sides resulted in a flurry of proposals and counter-proposals seeking to support each store, both stores and neither store.

Eventually the Tesco scheme, which has been supported by officers throughout the saga, was put to a tense recorded vote which was neck and neck, leaving the chairman to tilt the balance in Tesco’s favour.

Afterwards Mr Partridge said it was the “most difficult decision I have ever had to make in all my time on the council”.

It came after councillors earlier “clarified” a March decision to approve the Waitrose scheme, but were told that developments since then meant they would have to look at both schemes again.

He added: “I think the process we have gone through is as fair as it practically could be.

“Whichever outcome we had would have alienated half of Sheringham. I said all along that it was about sites, not companies. We certainly needed one or other of the supermarkets and, in purely planning terms, Cromer Road was the obvious one to go for.”

The food academy attached to the Waitrose plan had many merits and had attracted passionate support, but Mr Partridge said it was “in the wrong place”.

Pro-Tesco campaigner Jono Read said he was delighted at the decision and would be celebrating with champagne.

“It’s stunning that after 14 years we have finally come to the end of this debacle,” he said. “I’m glad they have listened to the results of the parish poll, the officers’ recommendation and all the expert advice. Now I’m looking forward to seeing this store built.”

After the vote, Greenhouse Community Project supporters left the council chamber and Eroica Mildmay, chairman of anti-Tesco group Scamrod, refused to comment.

The Rev Douglas Durand, a retired priest who spoke in support of Greenhouse, said the decision was “very unfortunate.”

He added: “The person in the chair was the person who proposed the motion in favour of Tesco at the March 4 meeting. I think that it was unfair that his casting vote was used to decide this issue when it was split 50-50.”

And chamber of trade chairman Alex Herbert, who told the
meeting they would prefer both plans to be refused, said afterwards the meeting was a “farce”, adding: “We are not happy with the outcome – and don’t understand why the earlier decision did not stand or why a councillor ended up having two votes.

Local councillors voiced concerns about the Tesco scheme, with Brian Hannah telling members they were making a “pivotal decision for Sheringham” and should back the Waitrose scheme and become a “beacon” rather than “give into a bully”.

Penny Bevan-Jones said officers’ recommendations were based on planning, but it was down to councillors to make a decision, and she favoured Waitrose – which would also mean the community centre would be retained in its central position.

Hilary Nelson was also against Tesco and urged councillors not to be “Jonah swallowed by the Tesco whale”.

Julia Moss welcomed the input of local young people into the earlier debate, but she asked what would be the outcome of a suggestion that both plans were approved and they “let the market decide”.

Retail consultant Mark Wood replied that the combined £4.3m turnover impact could even spell closure for Budgens at nearby Holt.

After the vote councillors, by then in a virtually empty chamber, agreed to delegate to officers the fine detail of about 40 conditions, including landscaping, materials, operating hours and car parking.

The design of gates for goods vehicles, the provision of gateway features at each end of a pedestrian walkway to the town centre, and the materials used on the linked flats and community buildings will be the subject of further consultation. Officers also want to reduce the amount of space available for the sale of non-food goods from 20pc to 13pc.

39 comments

  • Of course Tesco have won. It was only a matter of time. The referendum should have only asked if the people wanted a large supermarket or not.Asking the more detailed question split the vote and was designed to do so. To my mind if the council vote was even the current situation should have remained as it was too close to call.

    Report this comment

    Johnny Norfolk

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Tesco? BOGOF

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Just a thought from someone who doesn't live in the area, (but has had many Holidays in Cromer.) Morrisons and Argos, don't seemed to have harmed Cromer much, and you can buy pretty much everything at Argos! Apart from food!

    Report this comment

    Alistair Rudd

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • I have watched this debacle for years. First, Aylsham an equally small town now has a Tescos store and since it opened I now go to Aylsham instead of driving miles to another store and consquently use the other shops as well. So Tescos sometimes increases the number of people shopping as well. Secondly, I recently had a meal with someone who has a holiday home in Sheringham and who was dead against Tescos. It was interesting to note that every single item of food, the wine, the wine glasses and no doubt numerous other items had been bought from...yes you guessed Tescos!! With have lots of hypocrisy from those who don't want local people to hve access to a good supermarket.

    Report this comment

    Carol Barnes

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

  • Cromer has 3 supermarkets, and still has a full compliment of butchers, bakers, greengrocers, etc. Why should Sheringham be any different to them? We now, at least get the real chance to actually compete with them!

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

  • *We were warned, even.

    Report this comment

    Jono

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • I personally do not have an issue with a supermarket in the town, however it's the way that Tesco go about their business that upset me and I suspect most people. Examples are in other areas, seeking planning permission for a store or extension of a defined size only to build a larger store or extension knowing full well that the local authority do not have the resource or financial clout to take them on. As someone else commented they are a bully that wears you down and beats you into a submission. I thought the Director of Waitrose was very honourable saying that "We are not renowned for appeals. If communities don’t want us it’s their decision.” Take note Tesco.

    Report this comment

    Stephen Baldwin

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Colin, Sainsbury's in Sheringham already sells cheap pens and yet the small shops are still selling them. Bertram A Watts are still running despite that competition. Supermarkets sell your basic products but cannot compete with the large array of products that local shops sell. People who currently use the local shops do so because they don't like the supermarkets or enjoy doing so to top-up their needs. Shopping habits do not change quickly.

    Report this comment

    M J Rathbone

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

  • Sheringham councillors and supporting people like Jono Read should closely monitor the local keepers when Tesco opens. After this protracted battle with one supermarket, competition rules demand that others also have the right to compete with Tesc o's, so expect more to come. Sheringham will now look like any other town, with charity shops, entertainment and leisure activities replacing greengrocers, bakers and butchers, at first, with others to follow.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

  • Sheringham is not just about the beach, theatre etc.. It is one of the few remaining smal towns which has a complete vibrant town centre with, at the moment, a mix of shops and enterprises that provide most everyday things. Visitors and many residents love that. A huge supermarket will decimate the centre, don't forget to check this out in 2 or 3 years time.. Still it looks as if it's coming now, unless there is a reason for invalidating the decision (carried by a person with TWO votes - democracy?) However, less of Jono Read will be a plus!

    Report this comment

    Ray Evans

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Sheringham will continue to prosper with Tesco and the situation of the news store is perfect. Remember when Tesco wanted to build on the old Hilbre school site and were told it was too far out? So they moved into town and did everything the council wanted. Then Waitrose put in an appearance - imagine what THAT would have looked like on the narrow coast road opposite the Golf links! Yuk! I really couldn't stop laughing at the crying woman on TV last night - she made herself look very stupid. Maybe Sheringham would be better off without her.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • To Colin - yes, yes, yes!! I have been buying books, stationery, calendars, magazines from B Watts since I could toddle. I also use Blyth & Wright for all our houshold wares. I use the local greengrocers and the market too. I use the chemists and the charity shops too! I will use Tesco as well but not instead of local shops.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

  • I love Sheringham and visit several times a year. I'd say to people who use the smaller shops, who buy stationery or pens in Bertram A Watts, who buy veg at the greengrocers, will you honestly still buy these in these stores when Tesco open and offer the same product at a much cheaper price?

    Report this comment

    Colin

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

  • I'm very pleased about this. How long have SCAMROD said we didn't want a supermarket? The Parish Poll just proved the organisation to not reflect the people's views.

    Report this comment

    M J Rathbone

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • A sad end to a brave fight against this corporate giant. I love Sheringham but sadly this is the end of the town as we know it. In Norwich, we too got a Tesco (on Unthank Road), even though most of us didn't want it. Tesco just try and try again until they win. But the fight continues - visit the Tescopoly website (http:www.tescopoly.org) to see what's happening nationally.

    Report this comment

    DrJB

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • excuse me, but what is so greedy about wanting jobs, a new comunity centre, a new fire station, an affordable weekly shop, and, more trade via linked trips for the town centre. STOP comparing sheringham to Stalham! All these people who in one breath argue that sheringham is unique, then say we are exactly the same as everywhere else! Make your minds up!

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

  • I personally do not have an issue with a supermarket in the town, however it's the way that Tesco go about their business that upset me and I suspect most people. Examples are in other areas, seeking planning permission for a store or extension of a defined size only to build a larger store or extension knowing full well that the local authority do not have the resource or financial clout to take them on. As someone else commented they are a bully that wears you down and beats you into a submission. I thought the Director of Waitrose was very honourable saying that "We are not renowned for appeals. If communities don’t want us it’s their decision.” Take note Tesco.

    Report this comment

    Stephen Baldwin

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • I see greed has won out in the end at Sheringham. Look at the state of Stalham to see the future

    Report this comment

    Lisa Lane

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

  • I'm happy for my friends and customers if they got what they wanted and got a Tesco. I just wish they wouldn't keep saying that nothing will change with there town centre. You cant have one of the most hugest predatory retailers start up on your door step,that will take out hundreds of thousands of pounds from the local economy..and not hurt smaller businesses. Fine welcome Tesco ,but please dont think everything else will stay the same.

    Report this comment

    Scott E

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • I am a soon-to-be-retired specialist property lawyer here in Sheringham with a long history of working in Local Government both as an Officer and as a Member. What most concerns me about the Committee Chairman’s and Officers' support for the TESCO Application is the fact that it is a matter of public record that, some years ago, the then Chief Executive of NNDC (during a period of transition from the outgoing political administration to the incoming political administration) entered into some kind of legal agreement with TESCO's giving them pole position on the grid to provide the Town's first supermarket of any significant size. So far as I am aware, the details of that legal agreement have not been made public but it seems entirely plausible, to me, that the Chairman’s and Officers' conduct could be attributable to whatever commitment the Chief Executive made on behalf of the Council. In my ever so humble opinion, there should be a public inquiry as to the contents of and facts surrounding the aforementioned legal agreement; it is not possible to have any confidence in the Chairman’s and Officers' motives in the absence of a full disclosure of the terms of that legal agreement and complete transparency of the process.

    Report this comment

    David Worrall

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Jono's gonna need a new hobby, now

    Report this comment

    Chris Bardell

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • As somebody who has visited Sheringham at least once a year since I was born, I have watched this saga with interest over the years, and really do think that Tesco should have been built in Sheringham long, long ago. Where I live in Leicestershire, we have just in the past couple of years had a Tesco built, and it is doing incredibly well, but one thing I would like to point out to all the anti-Tesco campaigners is I think a lot of their arguments are unfounded. The Tesco where I live complements the town, it does NOT stock a huge range of books (because their is a very good bookshop in the town), It does NOT stock a lot of hardware, because again, there is a decent hardware store in the town, I could go on - but the point I am trying to make is they complement the town, they always have, and another store nearby complements that town also by not stocking the items that are readily available in that town. In both of these towns, ALL of the shops are still trading and are doing very well. I really do hope the anti-Tesco campaigners realise this when the store in Sheringham does open. You may not have liked the idea and campaigned against it for so long - but you will soon see how much of an asset Tesco is to Sheringham.

    Report this comment

    Query

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

  • I think the shannocks have won.

    Report this comment

    gerry mitson

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Jono Read - Did I mention Tesco or Waitrose? No. You also miss the point, especially regarding choice in a 'complete' town centre - check it out in 2-3 years. How is Holt?

    Report this comment

    Ray Evans

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • I se that this topic features also under the Politics and the Environment subheads. Why isn't also featured under the Crime subhead - it's criminal how much public money Tesco has wasted over the years in fighting this case. They should be ashamed of themselves. When and if their store ever opens, I suggest a consumer boycott

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

  • David Worrell has a point and it is with this in mind why it was a massive mistake for the anti's to side with any plan for a supermarket. Once they accepted the need for any market the Tesco.

    Report this comment

    mrcellophane

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • I for one think it good news for Sheringham,the local community,and visiting holiday makers that Tesco has obtained permission to go ahead with the Tesco Supermarket..in a short time the town will benefit in general..in addition legal costs have only been built up by the dithering of planners in letting this dispute carry on as long as it has

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

  • Can any body tell me why the most vocal support come from somebody from Bodham and one person from Holt. If what has been said about less well of people will benifit the most the tesco deal means that the Lockerbie flats will be knocked down and not replaced. The "donation" for the flats is not even guaranteed to be spent in Sheringham. Why do campaigners keep on about money going out of Sheringham to Cromer etc, well tesco's is owened by share holders and I don't suppose many of them live in Sheringham so the money goes out of Sheringham.

    Report this comment

    oddjob

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Welcome to our clone town - Sheringtesco and the foreseeable end of a unique community

    Report this comment

    Ray Evans

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • What a shame Tesco have got the go ahead. I thought it would be good to have something different like Waitrose in the town, something to bring people in to Sheringham not another Tesco. So now in locality we have all the major supermarkets, what next Asda? Like a comment above, another clone town and what a loss to the town to be something individual for its location. Short sighted or what!

    Report this comment

    Pete

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • I do not live in Sheringham , but have visited every Tescos in East Anglia on business , as managers have said to me " why is it before every Tesco is opened there always a protest " Tesco not wanted here" but they all do excellent business and aTesco store has never closed because of lack of business. Alsham and Fakenham both seem o-k since the arrival of the dreaded Tesco. Could some one tell the sobbing woman, on the local tv news, who said she would have to leave town now that its Tesco coming to town, not the TALIBAN, and that Tesco will not compromise her safety in any way. Now popping up to Aldi now that would be interesting if they wanted to come to Sheringham , or even a Ann Summers in the high Steet , the nimbies could have a field day then.

    Report this comment

    Melvyn Parkerson

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • These people who say they will leave or think that's it for Sheringham now cannot have a high regard for the town! Sheringham is about the beach, the little theatre, the parks, the steam railway and more. It'll still be there.

    Report this comment

    H Murphy

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • I for one think this is great news for Sheringham,the local community and visitors that Tesca have succeded in obtaining the go ahead with their s supermarket,,in no time the Sheringham High Street will see the benefits to the town in general

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

  • I personally do not have an issue with a supermarket in the town, however it's the way that Tesco go about their business that upset me and I suspect most people. Examples are in other areas, seeking planning permission for a store or extension of a defined size only to build a larger store or extension knowing full well that the local authority do not have the resource or financial clout to take them on. As someone else commented they are a bully that wears you down and beats you into a submission. I thought the Director of Waitrose was very honourable saying that "We are not renowned for appeals. If communities don’t want us it’s their decision.” Take note Tesco.

    Report this comment

    Stephen Baldwin

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • That is all I have to say on this subject as it now stands

    Report this comment

    Ray Evans

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • what a shame i thought that waitrose should have gone ahead as it would make sheringham uniqe as there ar'nt so many waitrose stores.so i guess most small buisnesses will close once it is built

    Report this comment

    Matthew Ayling

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Oddjob, I live in Bodham. I am allowed a say the same as my Distrct councillor is allowed a vote. and as much as Mr Hay - Smith, from weybourne, anmd a chap from Royston also had their say against tesco. It affects me, as it is my nearest town, as much, and in some ways more than a sheringham resident. I suggest you display a level of intelligence before making such ridiculing comments

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

  • What a shame Tesco have got the go ahead. I thought it would be good to have something different like Waitrose in the town, something to bring people in to Sheringham not another Tesco. So now in locality we have all the major supermarkets, what next Asda? Like a comment above, another clone town and what a loss to the town to be something individual for its location. Short sighted or what!

    Report this comment

    Pete

    Friday, October 15, 2010

  • Thanks Ray Evans...! I think what a lot of people have ignored here is that Sheringham wanted a supermarket. When it comes down to planning, Tesco was the better option. Throughout the meeting we were wanted approving a Waitrose would take trade out of town and bring no benefits to the town centre whatsoever. Visitors will be on the high street with Tesco. We heard from many cases about how supermarkets damage towns but in every case they were out-of-town stores. An edge-of-town Tesco was the right choice for Sheringham, not an out-of-town Waitrose.

    Report this comment

    Jono

    Friday, October 15, 2010

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

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