North Walsham Waitrose given the green light

A new superstore is set to open in October on the edge of North Walsham after Waitrose got permission to redevelop the former Focus DIY site.

At a planning meeting this morning, North Norfolk district councillors voted by 11 to zero, with one abstention, to allow the store firm to set up shop on Cromer Road.

The planners also unanimously passed its application to build extensions to the property, which stands next to the site of the former Crane Fruehauf factory.

After the meeting, town mayor Dave Robertson said: 'I'm absolutely delighted and I'm sure that the people of North Walsham feel the same. It will be good for the town and I believe it will increase footfall in the town centre and bring economic confidence to the town.'

James Gilhooley, head of property for Waitrose, said: 'I'm delighted that the residents of North Walsham and the chamber of trade have supported our application and we look forward to living up to their expectations when we open in the autumn.'

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The new store is expected to create up to 150 jobs.

Two applications - one to change the use of the building and the other for signage and additional car parking - were submitted to the council in March.

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The 2,885m sq store will sell 17,000 product lines and contain meat, fish, deli and patisserie counters. There will also be a cafe area for shoppers to buy a sandwich and a drink.

The application also asked for 154 parking spaces and 10 stainless steel cycle hoops.

The Highways Agency initially said the 40mph limit road was 'inappropriate' for people with shopping to be crossing but dropped all of its objections after further evidence was submitted by Waitrose.

? For the full story, see tomorrow's paper.

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