Holt supermarket set for planning go-ahead

Thaxters of Holt, where the new supermarket will be built. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Thaxters of Holt, where the new supermarket will be built. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

A new supermarket on the edge of Holt is set to get the go-ahead from planning councillors next week.

Members of North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) development committee have been recommended to approve the Norwood Homes plan for the Thaxters DIY and timber yard site.

It would see a store, with a net sales area of roughly 10,000sq ft and a 90-space car park, built on Old Station Way.

The supermarket, smaller than the town's existing Budgens, would be expected to create about 100 jobs.

Access would be from Old Station Way, via Hempstead Road and service vehicles would have their own entrance to the east of the supermarket.

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The application has generated 779 representations, including 615 objections and 154 in support of the scheme.

Objections included fears that the store would compete with and damage Holt's trading heart, would create traffic problems, and that the town did not need another supermarket.

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Holt Chamber of Trade voted unanimously against the proposal but the town council raised no objection provided that the store was occupied by a 'reasonably-priced operator' and that the developer agreed to Section 106 agreements requiring them to fund improvements to the access between Old Station Way and the town.

A report to Thursday's development committee says that NNDC's retail consultant thought there would be some impact as a result of a new supermarket but: 'taken as a whole these impacts are not considered to be significantly adverse.'

However, officers are recommending a package of mitigation measures, tied to planning approval, to offset any negative impact.

Among those suggested by NNDC's retail consultant are: improving the pedestrian route and underpass to and from the town centre, chipping in towards car parking in the town, funding improvements to town-centre shop fronts and possibly installing real-time information systems on improved town-centre bus stops.

Councillors will hear that the plan passed the 'sequential test' as no suitable site nearer the town centre was available. An earlier proposal by Gresham's School to build a supermarket behind its town-centre Old School House pre-preparatory school was dropped last month.

The new store would echo the architecture of the Midland and Great Northern Railway which once served the area.

Philip Godwin, NNDC's conservation design and landscape manager, commented in the report that the design was: 'inherently pastiche but on this occasion not wholly inappropriate.' He added: 'At least it will give some local connection and local distinctiveness.'

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