'Put your hand in your pocket' - Aldi told to pay for retail park crossing
- Credit: Aldi
A supermarket firm is being urged to "put its hand in its pocket" to fund a road crossing that an edge-of-Norwich community has been demanding for years.
A state of deadlock currently exists over the pedestrian and cycle crossing between Next on Longwater Business Park and Sainsbury's on Longwater Retail Park, Costessey.
Originally, it was agreed that Section 106 money from a 900-home development in Easton would pay for it.
But building work has yet to start since it was granted planning approval by South Norfolk Council (SNC) just over five years ago.
Now Norfolk County Council highways has demanded Aldi pay for the crossing as part of its plans for a store off William Frost Way on the business park.
Aldi said it was agreed the crossing would be paid for through the Easton homes and it expected the crossing to be finished before the store would open.
But Gary Blundell, Costessey Town Council member who has campaigned for the crossing, and county councillor Tim East said that Aldi should pay for the crossing as it could be years until the houses were built.
Mr East said: "I don't think we should be held to ransom by a huge conglomerate like Aldi who are not prepared to make a contribution towards the signalised crossing because another development has said they would do that.
"It should be about who comes along first, not trying to avoid paying money towards infrastructure improvements. We are talking about pedestrian safety."
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Mr Blundell, who said the community was behind the new Aldi store, said: "Aldi has to put its hand in its pocket. I'm amazed there hasn't been a serious accident on William Frost Way. The town council, county council and district council want a crossing. It is common sense."
The county council's highways department said it would recommend the plans were refused by SNC if Aldi did not pay for the crossing or build a footpath and cycle path from the crossing to the store.
An Aldi spokesperson said: "As part of our discussions with the county council and Costessey Town Council, Aldi has agreed that the new store would not open until this crossing is in place."
It said it would pay towards highways improvements including an upgrade to the southbound bus stop on William Frost Way.