Split views on Tesco for Sheringham

RICHARD BATSON Protestors flagged up their opposition to a Tesco supermarket at Sheringham at the weekend, while other townsfolk said “we want the store.”

RICHARD BATSON

Protesters flagged up their opposition to a Tesco supermarket at Sheringham at the weekend, while other townsfolk said "we want the store."

The retail giant has reawakened the long-running controversy by limbering up to put in a new set of plans - after a saga with more plot twists than a whodunit thriller.

Tesco officials staged a two-day exhibition, to outline their ideas, and seek public opinion - ironically in the town's community centre which will provide the site for the Cromer Road store.

On Saturday morning, anti-Tesco campaigners staged a roadside protest, tooting horns, waving placards and throwing posters into the road, until told to stop by police.

Spokeswoman for Scamrod, the Sheringham Campaign Against Major Retail Overdevelopment, Eroica Mildmay, said they would continue to oppose the store.

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She said they believed it was too big, too ugly and endangered the traditional town centre and tourist industry of Sheringham.

But Pro Tesco campaigner Pam Blyth said there was a lot of support for the store, and she disagreed that it would harm the high street.

And local resident Tina Fredericks said she like many other typical local people was "fully in favour" of the store, but felt their views were not being represented.

She said many other visitors to the exhibition were behind the scheme, and felt it was "undemocratic" for others to say they were speaking for Sheringham residents.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Katherine Edwards said people felt strongly about the issue - but she was heartened by the number of those speaking up for the store.

People opposing the plan did it for a variety of reasons: some did not like change; others had concerns about traffic.

"Some simply do not like Tesco, but when you are the market leader that is something you have to expect."

The plans are likely to be submitted in September after the public's views had been studied, said Ms Edwards.

She said the outcome was not a foregone conclusion and was down to the "local democratic process" to decide.

Ms Mildmay countered the allegations of intimidation, saying: "That's not our style.

"We have been very friendly, but we are voicing our opinions. And debate is good for everyone."