Sheringham folk to get say in centre plans

Townsfolk are going to be given a say in what should be in Sheringham's planned new community centre.

A week-long consultation will be held later this month to get public ideas, despite accusations the move was a delaying tactic for the complex which is being provided by Tesco as part of a package linked to a new supermarket in the town.

The idea was put forward at a meeting of Sheringham Town Council by mayor Doug Smith, who said the opinions of residents and organisations were important to get the layout right for the future.

The current centre on Cromer Road had been subsidised to the tune of �14,500 by the town council over recent years and it was important to increase use and income of the new one off Holway Road to make it viable.

An exhibition would be staged from Monday March 21 to Saturday March 26 from 9.30am-12.30pm in the council chamber, manned by councillors, and the feedback used to finalise interior plans by the end of April.

There was opposition from Mac McGinn who told Mr Smith 'you are totally out of order', and accused him of 'trying delaying tactics' as the centre plans had already been approved.

Councillors were in talks over the details including calling for a bigger under-sevens football pitch.

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The centre will be on the former Hilbre school where Tesco originally wanted to site a store before switching a 13-year planning battle to next to the railway station. The retail giant has to replace the community centre and fire station on the site before making a start on the supermarket.

Mr Smith, who in the past spoke in favour of a rival Greenhouse Project store scheme that included a food academy, stressed: 'I am not trying to delay anything, only trying to get this right, because if not we will quite rightly be pilloried.'

Peter Cox said a consultation was following the lead of the Big Society by allowing the public to have its say

And Madeleine Ashcroft said it was a golden opportunity for people to come up with ideas for the centre's use.

But Noel Gant said the council was there to make decisions on behalf of the community. Regularly consulting them would mean the council would never get anything done.

Councillors voted 9-4 for the consultation.

Earlier the planning committee raised no objections to Tesco's bid to get a change in conditions for the centre plans, to allow clearance of the site before roadworks and services are completed, despite some concerns from members including Mr Cox who said: 'there are one or two sceptical people wondering if there is an ulterior motive.'