Planners vote to prosecute Iceland over Cromer store
Frustrated councillors have voted unanimously to prosecute high street giant Iceland after a long-running planning wrangle over its Cromer store shop-front.
North Norfolk District Council's patience finally ran out today, July 21, over the 'flat and featureless' facade of the Church Street store which has been a bone of contention for nearly two years.
Iceland has still failed to submit plans for the frontage acceptable to the council after much to-ing and fro-ing, resulting in the store losing a planning appeal against enforcement action served by the council in January last year.
The planning inspector gave Iceland until June 10 this year to get rid of its unacceptable shop front and shutter and today's development committee heard that, over a month later, the situation remained unchanged.
Roger Howe, the council's planning legal manager, said after the meeting that the council's legal team would begin magistrates' court proceedings as soon as possible and it would be for the court to decide what penalty to impose on Iceland.
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The committee heard that Iceland, which moved into the former Woolworth building, was in the heart of Cromer's Conservation Area. In a letter to the meeting, Cromer district councillor Keith Johnson said Iceland had never had the courtesy to attend meetings of the committee and had treated the council with contempt through its actions.
Mr Johnson added that if the council failed to prosecute, it would send out the wrong message to future developers who might consider North Norfolk weak in enforcing valid planning decisions.
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After the meeting, a spokesman for Iceland said: 'We have undertaken a considerable amount of time and effort in trying to find a solution which is acceptable for both the planning authority and Iceland.
'Unfortunately, finding the balance between the planning committee's expectations and protecting the commercial viability of our store is not proving easy.
'Our store in Cromer is proving to be very popular and we will continue to try to find a solution as soon as we can.'