Waitrose sets date for public exhibition on plans for North Walsham store

Waitrose has announced the date of a public exhibition on its plans to convert the former Focus DIY store in North Walsham.

Residents and others will be able to view and discuss the proposal on Thursday February 2, from noon to 7pm, and Friday February 3, from 11am to 6pm.

The event will be held in the Dayspring Centre at North Walsham Methodist Church, on Grammar School Road, and representatives from Waitrose and the project team will be on hand to answer questions.

The retailer announced in December that it wants to transform the existing shell of the Cromer Road building into a new 21,000sq ft store, creating 150 jobs.

Talks have already been held with a number of local town, district and county councillors at which Waitrose said the store would also include a small coffee shop but there was not enough room for a petrol station.

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Delivery lorries would not come from the Norwich direction, avoiding Millfield and Station Roads. Instead, they would use the A149 from the northerly, Cromer direction.

Waitrose director of development, Nigel Keen, said: 'The views of local residents, organisations and businesses are very important to us. We hope they share our excitement that this is a great opportunity to bring a vacant building back into use very quickly, which can deliver real long-term benefits to North Walsham, including a significant number of new jobs for local people.

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'We want to ensure North Walsham remains a vibrant retail destination which gives more businesses the confidence to invest here.'

Waitrose will analyse all the feedback received at the exhibition before submitting a planning application in the weeks that follow.

If successful, the store could be converted in eight weeks and be open this autumn.

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