New Norwich superstore gets permission to open from 4am

Morrisons has been successful in its bid for its proposed new Norwich store to open for longer.

Morrisons has been successful in its bid for its proposed new Norwich store to open for longer. - Credit: PA

Superstore Morrisons has been given permission to change its opening hours and delivery times at a proposed new Norwich store - after councillors were warned they could pull out if they did not.

Norwich City Council's planning committee had granted permission for the superstore at the Goff Petroleum and former Hartwells Garage site in Aylsham Road at a meeting in February.

The store had been given permission to be open to the public from 7am until 11pm Monday to Friday, from 9am until 6pm on Saturdays and from 10am until 5pm on Sundays and public holidays.

But Morrisons bosses wanted longer opening hours and delivery times, so the applicant Michael Goff, who currently owns the site, had asked councillors to allow longer opening hours and permissible delivery times.

At a planning committee meeting today that permission was granted.

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The store will now be able to open from 4am until 11pm Monday to Saturdays and from 10am until 5pm on Sundays and public holidays.

Deliveries can be made around the clock, rather than being limited.

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Mark Camidge, agent for Mr Goff and Morrisons, told the committee there was a danger Morrison would walk away if the hours were not extended.

He said: 'You may be aware of the commercial realities Morrisons is facing. While there is a moral commitment [with Michael Goff], if these changes are not approved then the legal obligation falls away and that would allow Morrisons to walk away.

'If that happens in Aylsham Road, there is no replacement and we would not be able to create the jobs. If we are not successful today we will run out of time and Morrisons will be able to terminate and walk away.'

The council had received objections from near neighbours, concerned about the noise from extended opening, but officers recommended approval, saying that would 'not be inconsistent with the character of the area'.

Paul Neale, Green city councillor for Town Close ward, said he felt 'a gun was being pointed at his head', voted against the variation and said if the Morrisons scheme did not happen, he believed another supermarket would be interested.

But David Bradford, Labour city councillor for Crome ward, who voted in favour, said: 'What I would hate to happen is for that former depot to become a depot again because I think that would be detrimental.

'It would be detrimental to lose a supermarket, one for the jobs it would create and two for the people living there. There's lots of people who would welcome a decent quality, reasonably priced supermarket there.'

The extended hours were approved by 10 votes to 2.

• Do you think the right decision was made? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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