Cromer Iceland fails in bid to resolve shop front row

A national supermarket chain has been slammed for treating Cromer with 'contempt' as renewed plans to alter its town centre shop front were thrown out again.

Frozen food giant Iceland was hoping to resolve a long standing row with North Norfolk District Council over the 'flat and featureless' appearance of its Cromer branch, after submitting fresh plans to bring the shop front into line with the town's conservation area.

But their proposals were firmly rejected by members of the council's planning committee - who were also dismayed to see 'once again' that the supermarket chain had not represented itself at today's planning meeting.

Keith Johnson, member for Cromer, said: 'They do continue to treat this council and Cromer with contempt, in my opinion.'

Previous plans submitted by Iceland in 2009 for its existing shop front were refused by the council, and their decision was upheld at a subsequent appeal by a planning inspector. Since then it has put forward more proposals, which have been refused each time.

Mr Johnson added: 'In order that we do not lose credibility I urge members to support officers' recommendation (for refusal).'

Cromer Town Council and the town's conservation society also added to the argument against the supermarket's renewed plans - which would have included a set back entrance and cornice type mouldings to be added to the fascia.

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Jim Bond, from Cromer Town Council, said Iceland had made 'no attempt at designing a shop front to fit' the building's architecture and thought the amended plans were a 'feeble' attempt to address the council's concerns. He also objected to the garishness of the supermarket's corporate red colouring

Carolyn Candish, from the conservation society, recognised Iceland's 'important contribution' to Cromer but added: 'This latest planning application would neither preserve or enhance the conservation area.'

Officers told the meeting they had been working with Iceland to try and find a suitable solution to the Church Street store's facade and the supermarket had got 'very close' to submitting alternative plans, but had not put them forward as it would have cost too much money.

Members were also told the council has now been given the authority to prosecute Iceland over the fascia row.