POLL: Iceland could face court over Cromer shop front

High street giant Iceland is on the brink of being prosecuted as a council's patience runs out over its Cromer shop front.

The firm has a few days left to submit acceptable plans for an overhaul of the 'flat and featureless facade' of its Church Street store.

The threat, which is set to be rubber-stamped by North Norfolk District Council's development committee on Thursday, is the latest twist in a two-year saga since Iceland moved into the former Woolworth building.

Iceland initially sought permission for its shop front on September 17 2009. But by the time it was considered by the development committee on November 26, the work had already been carried out.

The committee refused the application on the grounds that 'the design for the replacement shop front is damaging to the character and appearance of this highly prominent part of the conservation area'.

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The committee added that it 'fails to respect the balance and symmetry of the building, creates a flat and featureless facade, lacking depth and modelling'.

An enforcement notice was served on January 8 2010, requiring Iceland to removed the shop front and roller shutter by May that year.

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Iceland appealed to the planning inspectorate, but an inspector found in favour of the council, except in respect of a non-illuminated loading bay door sign.

The inspector gave Iceland until June 10 this year to remove the shop front and shutter.

The company submitted new plans on January 26, but the council said they fell 'well short of what was acceptable' - as did further plans submitted on March 8.

On May 19, Iceland said it had been 'working tirelessly with various specialist shop front designers to try and present an acceptable solution, but unfortunately have not managed to do so to this date'.

The impasse continued, and on June 14 the council sent suggested plans to Iceland, which rejected them, saying it 'proves to be a problem in terms of expenditure'.

A report to Thursday's meeting says: 'Every effort has been made to guide the applicants towards producing an acceptable solution. However, it is of concern that to date no acceptable proposals have been formally proposed.

'It is evident that matters are not progressing in a timely manner and more than one month has passed since the enforcement notice should have been complied with.'

The report recommends that, unless 'acceptable' plans are submitted before the meeting, the committee should 'authorise a prosecution against Iceland'.

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