Plans for new out-of-town retail park in Great Yarmouth turned down
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014
Planning bosses united to 'stand up' for Great Yarmouth's town centre when they threw out plans for a new retail park.
Applicants Pasta Foods had applied for the second time to demolish one of its warehouses on Pasteur Road and replace it with seven retail units, a restaurant and drive through.
But members of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's planning committee rejected the bid in line with officers' recommendations that it would harm the already 'fragile' town centre.
Their decision drew applause from scores of independent traders who packed the public gallery to capacity to listen to the debate.
Simon Webber, director of Pasta Foods - which employs around 140 people in the town - said the proposal would benefit the town by creating jobs and improving Yarmouth's retail offer. It would also help stem the growing tide of people going to Norwich to do their shopping, he said.
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'If you support our application our investment will allow new bulky goods retailers [into town] and allow Great Yarmouth to fight back against Norwich,' he added. 'We're offering jobs, investment, rates and certainty. You will get what you and Yarmouth badly needs.'
But Jonathan Newman, town centre manager, said the proposed out-of-town retail park would have a 'significant adverse effect' on Yarmouth and Gorleston town centres.
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Mr Newman said Yarmouth's current vacancy rate stood at 14pc - above the national average - adding: 'The fear of what the impact will be to local retailers, including [department store] Palmers is very real.
'The town centre needs investment to move forward and a development in the nature of this proposal will make it increasingly difficult.'
And while some members said it was encouraging to see a company wanting to invest in Yarmouth, they unanimously turned it down.
Chairman Charles Reynolds said it was a 'difficult' decision particularly as Pasta Foods had been loyal to Yarmouth for more than 40 years.