Sheringham traders upbeat after Tesco supermarket opening

A customer in the new Tesco store in Sheringham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

A customer in the new Tesco store in Sheringham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Traders in a seaside town have said the arrival of a controversial supermarket will force independent businesses to stay at the top of their game.

The new Tesco store in Sheringham opens its doors to the public. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The new Tesco store in Sheringham opens its doors to the public. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The Tesco store on Cromer Road, Sheringham, was opened on October 24 after a decade-long planning battle.

But despite fears the development would reduce trade in the traditional high street, business owners are positive customers will remain loyal.

Butcher Sam Papworth, director of J&D Papworth Farms which has a store on Station Road, said: 'The High Street has been busier and if you are serving good quality products at good prices you can sell to people on the street.

'Because the Tesco car park is closer to the town centre the passing footfall has increased. You have got to take advantage of it.

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'High-street businesses can offer locally-produced fruit, vegetables and good-quality meat but they have to be at the top of their game.

'I was looking forward to the store opening because there has been so much talk. We are looking forward to putting ourselves up against it. I don't think it is going to hurt us.'

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He said the 'myriad' of stores on the high street and its warm ambience was attractive to customers.

The butcher hoped Tesco and the independents could have a 'symbiotic relationship'.

Stephen Fulcher, proprietor of Dawn Fresh grocers also on Station Road, said sales this half term were up 15pc.

'Sheringham people are proud of their town. They are very loyal. Sheringham is a unique town and there are very few places left like it in the UK,' he added.

Joan Little, owner of Richard's fishmonger on Church Street, said she had not noticed any difference in trade, and nor had the Sainsbury's Local on High Street.

Many of these traders said one reason for the busy high street and increased footfall was because of the half-term holiday.

Chris Wright, managing director of Blyth and Wright ironmongers on Station Road, said: 'I don't think the Tesco is going to make as much difference as people thought. We have got to take advantage of the fact Tesco is here. If we have not got a supermarket we will lag behind. A bit of competition won't hurt anyone. It is down to everybody to step up.'

He added the free car park was a benefit as was the improved community centre and new walkway to the centre.

Noel Gant, former town mayor and Tesco supporter, said the store would be good for the town and fitted in well with surrounding buildings.

He believed there were more people who supported the proposal compared to people against it.

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