Lidl unveils Cromer store plan

Cut-price supermarket firm Lidl is set to add to fierce competition in Cromer by developing a store on the edge of the town.

The German discount specialist is planning to demolish the existing BP petrol station and shop, plus the attached Subway and build its own store with a smaller Subway at the back.

Today, Lidl threw its plans open to the public at an exhibition at Merchants' Place on Church Street.

But the scheme, which could be submitted to North Norfolk District Council within a month, has already prompted concerns from Cromer Chamber of Trade.

Chamber president Peter Stibbons said there were worries that the removal of the petrol station would leave Cromer with only one place to top up with fuel.

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He said the chamber was also worried about 'yet another supermarket in Cromer'.

He said: 'This would leave us with only one petrol station in Cromer - the Morrisons station on Prince of Wales Road, where queues from there already sometimes block the road. So we have concerns about traffic.

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'Beyond that is the issue of yet another supermarket in Cromer, with Morrisons currently expanding, plus Iceland, Budgens and Co-Op.

'The in-town shops have been fighting their corner for years, since Safeway first opened.'

The exhibition, which included food and drink for visitors, saw Lidl employees talking to the public about the plans.

Wendy Hurst, Lidl acquisitions manager, said the plan was to demolish the existing buildings and redevelop the site, closing off the access at the top of the hill so that there was just one way in and out.

She said there would be a 1,063m sq sales area, car parking for 66 vehicles and space for 40 bicycles. At the back of the building there would be a 'small' replacement Subway, which sells filled baguettes and other takeaway food.

Miss Hurst said: 'We've had quite extensive pre-application discussions with the local council and are hoping to submit the application in the next four weeks.

'The idea of this is to get comments from local people about the proposals. It's been really positive so far. We know there's a need for a limited-assortment store in Cromer.

'There's a big leakage to our Lidl store at North Walsham at the moment.'

She added: 'We know we've got to work hard on the landscaping.'

And she said that Lidl did not have concerns about the number of supermarkets in Cromer because Lidl was a 'different type of retail offer. The most important thing is that people have choice.'

Lidl has signed a conditional deal to buy the freehold of the site. Miss Hurst said Lidl did not do petrol stations.

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