Friday, July 11, 2014
International retailer Aldi wants to open a discount supermarket in Fakenham.
The news has brought a mixed response with some people welcoming the prospect of investment and jobs, but others concerned about the impact it could have on other traders and questioning if it is the right sort of development for the town.
The German company confirmed its interest with a spokesman saying: “Aldi is interested in bringing its award-winning offer to Fakenham and is considering opportunities in the town at present.”
Aldi would not give any further details but sources around the town say the company is looking at the vacant former Peugeot garage site on Norwich Road.
It is believed between 30 and 40 jobs could be created.
No application for planning permission has yet been sent to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) but it is understood that Aldi leaflets will be sent to households around the town in the coming weeks.
District councillors Jeremy Punchard, who is also the Fakenham mayor, and Steven Ward are due to meet land agents working for Aldi on Wednesday to discuss some of the details of what is planned.
Mr Punchard said: “I welcome any investment in the town by a retailer. There are advantages that come with supermarkets such as parking as well.”
Mr Ward said: “I would welcome Aldi to the town. It is good use of a vacant site and better to have something there than nothing.
“There are a few things that need to be sorted out, particularly highways issues over access as there could be some potential problems there but overall I am for it and I can’t see how it would have any detrimental impact on local traders.”
With Tesco, Morrisons and Lidl supermarkets already in Fakenham, however, concerns have been raised.
One Fakenham trader, who did not wish to be named, said: “Fakenham needs to go up a notch, not down.
“There is one too many supermarkets here already so another one could kill the little bakers, butchers and greengrocers.”
Other traders feel positive about the plans.
John Johnson, manager of Papworth Butchers on Miller’s Walk, Fakenham, said: “It’s a good move.
“It will bring more people to our end of Fakenham, bring jobs and create more cash flow.
“Fakenham looks awful for anyone coming into the town from Norwich at present so it will be good to tidy up that site.”
He added: “When Tesco opened in Fakenham our trade went up.”
Keith Osborn, co-founder of the Fakenham Area Business Community (FABCOM), which was established to promote local businesses, said: “It would have been preferable to have a local business in there but it is better to have something than nothing and it would have been difficult for a local trader to take on a site of that size. “It is nice to have some national chains represented in the town but there needs to be a balance between that and a diverse range of local businesses.”