Wymondham residents view supermarket plans

Scores of residents attended the first in a series of public exhibitions over plans to bring a new supermarket to Wymondham.

Despite some concerns over traffic congestion, many visitors appeared to speak favourably of proposals to build a 20,000 sqft store on the former sale ground, next to the railway station.

The initial outline, presented by Bride Hall Developments at the Central Hall yesterday, also included car parking and a new public transport interchange.

But it remains early days with details not yet known on the amount of parking spaces or even which retailer would occupy the site. A second exhibition with a more refined set of plans will take place on September 21.

Matthew Thomas, associate planning director at Bride Hall Developments, said: 'Today is for us to set out the fact we're looking to redevelop the former sale ground, which has been empty for a number for years, and bring it back into productive use with a food store which we feel is needed in Wymondham.'

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The proposals come as a joint scoping opinion for up to 1,300 new homes to the south of the town is submitted on behalf of developers Pelham Holdings and Endurance Estates.

Mr Thomas added: 'The more homes there are, the more demand for food there is. Wymondham has a Waitrose store on the other side of town and this will provide more competition and more choice for local residents.'

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The land had previously been subject to a planning application for 64 homes and commercial space, but was rejected last year by district councillors on highway safety grounds.

Town councillor Diana Hockaday said many questions still needed to be answered about the site's suitability.

She said: 'Do we need another supermarket? I feel the answer will probably be yes. But we've never had a supermarket proposed there before. We've had industry and housing so this is very different. I'm certainly open minded about it but we need to look at it properly.'

Resident Ann Ford, also a member of the Wymondham Nature Group, was concerned with the store's potential impact on wildlife and traffic levels. 'I'm quite happy with Waitrose and a couple of Co-op shops. I think a mixture of housing would be better,' she added.

But another resident said: 'I'm all for it. We need another supermarket in the town - I do most of my shopping in Norwich or Dereham. I'm a bit worried about the traffic congestion but it would be worth putting up with if I could walk to do my shopping.'

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