Anger over Dereham supermarket plan

A huge expansion of Dereham's Tesco store could “destroy the town centre,” the annual town meeting heard.Councillors and members of the public voiced fears for the town's future if the supermarket giant was allowed to build the extension.

A huge expansion of Dereham's Tesco store could “destroy the town centre,” the annual town meeting heard.

Councillors and members of the public voiced fears for the town's future if the supermarket giant was allowed to build the extension. Tesco recently held a public exhibition on its plans and is to submit a planning application to Breckland Council for the project.

Town and district councillor Michael Fanthorpe told Tuesday's meeting that the scheme would “destroy the town in the future”.

Fellow councillor Robin Goreham said his father - a former grocer - had warned 30 years ago about big conglomerates “annihilating” small independent stores and urged local people to support small businesses.

Dereham man Douglas Cripps added: “You will destroy the town centre and a lot of the villages around if you do not oppose it.”

But town and district councillor Linda Monument said councillors could not “pre-determine” planning applications.

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Dereham Tourist Association's Peter Streek said ways had to be found to make market town centres more attractive, rather than simply complaining about the growth of supermarkets.