Poll: consultants say Paston College’s The Lawns would be a good site for a new supermarket - do you agree?

A site in the middle of Paston Sixth Form College's campus would be one of the best places for a new North Walsham supermarket, retail experts have ruled.

Consultants SPA have identified The Lawns, which forms a major part of the college, as a plum site for a store which could help regenerate the nearby town centre.

SPA's study says there is interest in North Walsham from supermarkets and the best way to exploit it for the benefit of the town as a whole would be to find sites close to the centre.

Doing so would encourage supermarket customers to visit existing shops and could create the step-change necessary to attract more shoppers into the town centre, which in turn could lead to wider investment from non-food retailers.

The report adds that developing The Lawns would enable the college 'to invest strongly in its other sites in the town centre.'

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SPA was commissioned to look at retail demand in the town by the North Walsham Leadership of Place group - a partnership of local authority, and local private enterprise, education and community groups.

The firm was especially asked to consider the capacity of sites and existing premises to accommodate future development.

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Leadership of Place's steering committee has discussed the report and agreed that, while members could 'see advantages in its general thrust', discussions on how to proceed were at a very early stage.

Paston College principal Kevin Grieve, said: 'We are a very successful college and we want to build on that success. Our first priority has to be the college and its students.

'We have always been at the heart of North Walsham and we will be very interested to see if further detailed analysis shows that this proposal could be of benefit to both ourselves and the town as a whole. There are a whole host of questions that need to be answered and issues to be resolved across a number of organisations and such a development is not going to happen overnight.'

The Lawns was the home of North Walsham High School for Girls which merged in 1984 to become a sixth-form college with neighbouring Paston School, where

Admiral Lord Nelson was a pupil from 1768-1771.

North Norfolk District Council's cabinet will be considering the report at its meeting in December.

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