What do the people of Dereham think of WH Smith’s plans to open a shop in the town?

WH Smith is looking to open a shop in Dereham. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

WH Smith is looking to open a shop in Dereham. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire - Credit: PA

People in Dereham have been reacting positively to news that WH Smith is looking to open a shop in the town.

Town and district councillor Phillip Duigan. Picture: Norfolk Conservatives.

Town and district councillor Phillip Duigan. Picture: Norfolk Conservatives. - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

The company is seeking planning permission from Breckland Council to transform the former betting shop at 36 High Street into a retail premises.

Town and district councillor Phillip Duigan said: 'It is great to see a big national retailer like this giving a vote of confidence to Dereham.

'A couple of buildings have been vacated in recent months giving some not too encouraging signs for the town so this is very welcome news.

'It is always encouraging to have empty units filled, especially by a business with the reputation of WH Smith.

The former betting shop in High Street, Dereham, which could be re-opened as a WH Smith. Picture: AD

The former betting shop in High Street, Dereham, which could be re-opened as a WH Smith. Picture: ADAM LAZZARI. - Credit: Archant


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'It's a bit of a strange one, because I would have thought that building would be a bit small for a WH Smith but overall I believe it is very news for Dereham.'

District councillor Alison Webb said: 'It's great news for Dereham because it is bringing new jobs to the town.

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'WH Smith is a well-respected national chain and it will encourage others to move into Dereham as well.

'There has been a shortage of stationery shops in Dereham since Chambers closed a few years ago, so Dereham needs this sort of business.'

There have been mostly positive comments about the proposals on social media since we broke the news online on Wednesday evening.

Commenting on the Dereham Times Facebook page, Pete Jessop said: 'How can anyone be negative about this?

'People have been crying out for high street names for ages and this can only be seen as a good thing. One comes along and the others will follow.'

Julia Srigley wrote on the EDP Facebook page: 'That would be a really positive contribution to Dereham's shops.'

WH Smith states in its application that the shop would create four full-time jobs.

The building which it plans to move into, next to The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, has been empty for some time.

WH Smith is the world's oldest national retail chain and is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year.

It has previously announced plans to invest £49m its high street division this year.

What do you think? E mail adam.lazzari@archant.

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