‘Crazy’ stalemate over new exit at Sainsbury’s in North Walsham

A long-awaited new car park exit at a busy supermarket is sitting unused because of an ordering mix up over flashing lights at a nearby zebra crossing.

Confusion over the Mundesley Road crossing lights, which are linked to the scheme at North Walsham Sainsbury's, also means it cannot officially be walked across.

Although the exit has been ready to use for several weeks, no order has yet been placed for the poles and flashing beacons needed to finish the crossing.

The muddle - which has failed to solve the car park's congestion over the festive shopping period, now looks set to rumble on into the New Year.

County councillor Paul Morse said it was frustrating for Sainsbury's customers and pedestrians.

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Community leaders had hoped the new exit would be open in time for the Christmas food-shopping rush.

But throughout the festive period customers visiting the supermarket and its adjoining petrol station have had to continue using the single Bacton Road entrance and exit, where tailbacks are a common problem.

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And when the stalemate is eventually broken, it will be a further six weeks until the beacons are installed.

Planning permission for the new exit was granted three years ago but work only began this October. Provision of the crossing was part of the conditions for approval.

Paul Morse, county councillor for North Walsham, said Sainsbury's was not allowed to open the exit until the zebra was open.

'We've now got a really crazy situation - this has got to be down to bad project management by Sainsbury's contractors,' he said.

'The usual queues are mounting up at the current exit and it's always worse at Christmas.' A Sainsbury's spokesman said they had asked the county council for advice on completing the crossing and, as a result, had contacted contractor Amey but were still waiting to hear from the firm about a date for the work.

However an Amey spokesman said they believed the ball was in Sainsbury's court.

She explained: 'Amey were contacted by the contractor for Sainsbury's on December 8, requesting information on how long the work would take if they placed an order with us.

'We responded stating the work would take six weeks due to reconnecting the illuminated beacons to the mains supply. Neither Sainsbury's or their subcontractor have placed an order with Amey for the work required; and consequently, we are not able to commence work.'

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