Planners to visit Tesco store site

Planning councillors will today visit the site of a controversial Tesco store scheme at Sheringham ahead of decision day on Thursday.The proposed 1,500 sq m supermarket in Cromer Road has split the town, where there are pro and anti lobby groups.

Planning councillors will today visit the site of a controversial Tesco store scheme at Sheringham ahead of decision day on Thursday.

The proposed 1,500 sq m supermarket in Cromer Road has split the town, where there are pro and anti lobby groups.

And it has split the council, with a recent west area planning committee voting to reject it, despite officials saying there are no reasons for turning it down.

On Thursday a joint east and west planning committee will discuss what could be the final chapter in a 10-year saga, which has seen Tesco piece together a complex package of land deals that would also see the fire station and community centre re-located.

They will hear the west committee's view that it should be refused because the store is too big, would harm local businesses, clog up roads, and result in loss of housing.

But they will also hear officials continuing to recommend approval - and warning that, if the committee cannot provide clear evidence to back up its reasons, costs could be awarded against the council at any appeal hearing.

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A report to the committee says objectors including the chamber of trade remained concerned about the impact on a currently vibrant town centre of independent shops, where 12 to 16 businesses could be lost if turnover fell by 10-20pc.

A council retail consultant however said while some businesses could close during a “period of readjustment of trading patterns” it would be outweighed by increased footfall from people visiting the town instead of neighbouring supermarkets - so the “overall impact on the town's vitality and viability should therefore be positive.”

Tesco's agents also believe a lot of the objections had come from people outside the area, “particularly from Leicestershire.”, and the report adds that highways consultants saw no reasons to refuse the scheme.

Councillors visit the site at 10am today and will debate the plan at 9.30am on Thursday.

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