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Supermarket land deal to be unveiled

PUBLISHED: 08:15 07 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:58 22 October 2010

RICHARD BATSON

Details of a controversial land deal at the heart of Sheringham's supermarket saga will be revealed to councillors this month.

Details of a controversial land deal at the heart of Sheringham's supermarket saga will be revealed to councillors this month.

A planning committee which recently debated the town's Tesco scheme was surprised to learn about a three-year-old legal agreement, which stopped North Norfolk District Council promoting a rival location, which they owned, as a supermarket site.

It means the council had little option but to remove its objections to the plan, despite fierce local opposition, and Tesco is now submitting fresh plans seeking formal approval - which will stop the need for a public inquiry into an earlier refusal.

A major internal investigation has been carried out into the deal, which council leader Simon Partridge said had caused a "tremendous amount of anger" among councillors as well as the general public.

A statement from the council yesterday said the agreement was signed on the authority of its then executive committee - the forerunner of the current cabinet - and did not involve any planning officers or committees. The report by the council's monitoring officer and audit and performance manager Emma Duncan and Peter Gollop will be made public at the full council meeting on June 28 - having been reported informally, behind closed doors, to the cabinet on June 12.

The council's leadership would then look at "what lessons can be learned from the controversy, and whether any processes need to change".

Mr Partridge said: "We all want to get to the bottom of this, to understand its causes and ramifications. We also need to make sure that our processes are properly transparent in the future."

The report will also be part of the council's response to the local government ombudsman who has been alerted to the incident. "We have to take this seriously and to be properly and honestly critical of council procedures," said Mr Partridge. "Local people need to know that we can continue . . . representing their interests with effective local government."

The council meeting on June 28 is at 6pm at the council's chamber on Holt Road, Cromer and is open to the public.


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