Save our Sheringham - Say NO to Tesco

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tesco succeed in Sheringham store battle

RIP Sheringam

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Public vote move in Sheringham store saga

People in Sheringham look set to get a chance to vote on a long-running supermarket saga.Moves are afoot to stage a parish poll on the thorny question which has divided the community - just as the decade-long debate looked set to come to a conclusion. Tesco's years of trying to build a store on the Cromer Road have been rejected by planning councillors, contrary to officer recommendations but in line with local fears it would damage the vibrant town centre. They voted instead for a more recent rival Greenhouse Community Project scheme which combines a Waitrose run store with an educational food academy. The decision is currently in limbo while complaints about the conduct of councillors at the decision meeting back in March are investigated. But local residents are being asked to back calls for a poll, which will be discussed at a public meeting to be held at Sheringham High School on Thursday September 2 at 8pm. The outcome of a poll carries no legal weight, but would go some way to answering long-running claims and counterclaims by the rival sides over levels of support for their schemes. Town mayor Doug Smith said the meeting was being called due to overwhelming requests for a local referendum. The gathering would decide whether to press ahead with a vote - which could be as soon as September 23, the same day a by election to fill a vacant town council seat. It would also decide the wording of the questions - with only people on the Sheringham electoral register able to vote.“There seems to be some kind of deadlock and people feel frustrated. This will give a very clear indication of what the people of Sheringham want to have. The poll will focus the minds of district councillors and will be have to be considered properly,” he added. Mr Smith said he had also asked the district council to delay any final confirmation of a decision until the outcome of the poll was known. The cost, estimated to be about £3,000, would be picked up by local taxpayer. And he stressed it would have to be about land use, not the companies or personalities involved. Greenhouse project leader Clive Hay Smith welcomed the poll as a positive and democratic move that was “late in the day but will allow real people to have a real say” amid the “opaque” planning process. It would show whether Tesco had as many supporters as they claimed. Tesco spokesman Michael Kissman said: “It is clear to everyone that there is and always has been strong support for Tesco in Sheringham. However, planning applications should be decided on planning grounds and our proposals clearly passed those standards when experts last looked at them.”

Thursday, June 03, 2010

New twist in Sheringham supermarket saga

A complaint against a councillor which is holding up the latest stage of the Sheringham supermarket saga was submitted by the authority's chief executive, it has been revealed. North Norfolk District Council's top officer Philip Burton handed in a 27-page confidential document - seen by the EDP - outlining concerns about the conduct of Candy Sheridan, who represents Stalham. The authority last night said its chief executive's role was a matter of convention and did not necessarily reflect his personal concerns. The complaint, dated March 31, relates to Ms Sheridan's behaviour during a meeting on March 4 to decide who should be given permission to develop a supermarket in Sheringham. A committee voted against the recommendations of officers to give the go-ahead to the Greenhouse Community Project, which would be run by Waitrose, and rejected the latest application by Tesco. The decision is set to be discussed again by the planning committee - because of fears it would not stand up to a legal challenge - but that has been put on hold while a number of complaints against councillors, including Ms Sheridan, are investigated. Last night, district council spokesman Nick Manthorpe explained the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 imposed an “absolute duty” on the authority's monitoring officer to ensure serious allegations against any councillor were properly investigated. He added: “By convention in these circumstances the actual complaint to the standards committee is made by the chief executive.” Mr Manthorpe said the council would be breaking the law if it was to reveal any of the details of four complaints made against three councillors unless and until they came before a standards committee panel hearing. Mr Burton's code of conduct complaint form was passed to the EDP by Eroica Mildmay, chairman of Sheringham Campaign Against Major Retail Overdevelopment (Scamrod). She has now received a letter from the district council telling her the authority is seeking legal advice over how her organisation came to have the confidential documents. It follows a letter sent to the authority by Ms Mildmay and Reg Grimes, chairman of the Sheringham and District Preservation Society, giving their views on the complaint. Last night Scamrod's chairman called the letter a “threat” and branded it “ridiculous”. She added: “The important thing for me is that they have not dealt with any of my issues. They have decided to turn around and shoot the messenger and try to intimidate me.” Ms Mildmay refused to reveal who had leaked the confidential complaint document. Mr Manthorpe said: “The documents in question are restricted to a small number of relevant people, who are all aware that they are to be kept confidential, by law. We cannot speculate or comment further without potentially prejudicing any investigation.” Ms Sheridan announced she was the subject of an ongoing investigation in April when she had to leave a planning meeting while the supermarket saga was discussed.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Sheringham supermarket battle in limbo

The great supermarket debate which has engulfed Sheringham for many years looks set to remain in limbo until legal advice is received about the implications of complaints against councillors. As reported previously in the EDP, councillors at North Norfolk District Council decided in March to back the Waitrose supermarket aspect of the wider Greenhouse Community Project on the outskirts of town and refuse permission for the town centre Tesco plan. As also reported at the time, that decision could still be overruled if it turns out, as council officers fear, to have been made on shaky grounds which could be challenged legally. Almost three months on and that situation remains unresolved. A statement from the Greenhouse Community Project, which is being headed by Clive Hay Smith said project members and partners "continued to be frustrated by the apparent reluctance of the council to ratify the democratic decision taken by elected members" in early March. The statement said this was espec-ially frustrating given that the council's external legal advice accorded with the project's own independent advice from leading counsel. They also said complaints against councillors appeared to feature "trumped-up charges" and added: "We are watching this situation very closely and will be taking further legal advice to ensure the democratic process is not abused." Meanwhile, Nick Gellatly of Tesco said: "It is nearly three months since the planning committee took the decision to go against the advice of their officers, consultants as well as local and national planning policy." Mr Gellatly said he was sure many local people would be as disappointed as he was that delays continued." However, we understand that the council must take care to reach proper and justifiable decisions, but hope that they will be able to name the date for a decision at the earliest possible opportunity. "Council spokesman Nick Manthorpe said: "We have sought, and are awaiting, legal advice on the implications of the four standards complaints against three councillors involved in making the decision in March. We need to know whether and how those issues might affect the validity of that decision. We need that legal advice before we can know how to move forward and determine these important applications."

Thursday, April 01, 2010

New twist in Sheringham store wars

The Sheringham store wars battle has taken yet another twist. Councillors will have to meet again to clarify the reasons behind their surprise supermarket decision at Sheringham. Members of North Norfolk District Council's planning committee went against officers' recommendations when they backed an edge-of-town, eco-friendly Waitrose store and refused a Tesco scheme earlier this month. But there were concerns about the muddled reasoning voiced by councillors at the time. A legal expert has said the decisions would be legally sound providing the reasons were not "perverse or irrational" and were "properly articu-lated". However, barrister James Strachan said the minutes of the meeting did not provide that clarity.Planning officials advised refusal of the Greenhouse Community Project store - which would be run by Waitrose - in Weybourne Road, partly because it went against retail development policy that favoured sites nearer the town centre. But councillors voted 10-6 to approve the store and reject Tesco's store plan for Cromer Road. Their reasons included the failure to give enough weight to the ethos and sustainability of the Waitrose scheme, while Tesco's would harm the town centre and had an incompatible design. However, the reasons for breaking policy had "not yet been articulated by the committee", according to a council report, which says the committee must meet again to reconsider the two applications. And, next Thursday, the committee will be asked to confirm the minutes of the decision-taking meeting on March 4. Head of planning Steve Oxenham said a full debate of the reasons would take place at a special meeting to be called later, when the committee would seek to provide the necessary clarity. It is the latest twist in a long and often bitter saga about supermarket development at Sheringham. Tesco has been seeking a store in the town since 1996, and hoped its revised plans for Cromer Road would answer concerns arising from previous refusals. Yet it continued to face fierce opposition from opponents fearful that it would damage the existing, vibrant town centre. Tesco spokesman Nick Gellatly said: "It was clear from the outset that the decision by the council did not fit with either local or national planning policy, and there was public outcry as a result of this."We welcome the decision to revisit this issue as there must be greater clarity on why the council made the choice it did, particularly when it runs counter to the recommendations from their officers. "Landowner Clive Hay-Smith's more recent rival plan near the Splash pool aimed to provide an alternative store with green credentials, with local food sourcing, electric deliv-ery vehicles and shopper buses, plus a linked food academy. He was not available for comment but has previously praised councillors for their decision, which his lawyers had checked and believed to be legally sound.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Norfolk town wins 14-year battle to prevent Tesco being built in town centre

A Norfolk town has won its fight to prevent a Tesco being built in the centre, with officials opting for a community project run by a local farmer.
The decision to instead opt for an eco-friendly supermarket has been welcomed by the residents of Sheringham, who have been protesting against the introduction of a Tesco for the past 14 years.
The Greenhouse Country Store, a project devised by Clive Hay-Smith, will be the greenest supermarket ever built - with rainwater harvesting, solar panels and an electric bus service.

Sheringham residents have won their fight to prevent a Tesco supermarket being built in their town
Mr Hay-Smith, a former president of media empire Pearson, said he was thrilled with the North Norfolk District Council's planning committee's decision.
He said: 'Tesco has run up against someone with the time, the money and the inclination - certainly the inclination - to take it on.'
However, Mr Hay-Smith has run into some opposition from locals after announcing last year he was enlisting the help of Tesco rival Waitrose to run the supermarket.

Clive Hay-Smith devised plans for the eco-friendly supermarket
But many are thrilled with the news that their town will host the greenest supermarket ever built.
Sheringham High School student Hope Worsdale told the council the store would encourage further eco-friendly development.
She said: 'It is the way forward with genuine values and beliefs which are needed to get us out of the mess we are in. The mess my generation will have to live with.'
Friends of the Earth's food campaigner Helen Rimmer said yesterday's decision was a positive sign.
She explained: 'Tesco controls a third of the UK’s grocery market and communities up and down the country are fighting back against its takeover of our towns and cities.
'It is now vital that the Government and local authorities bring in new policies to support independent shops and the local economy to give communities a genuine choice about where to shop.'
Tesco have been fighting for the right to build a supermarket in Sheringham since 1996, but were told by councillors it would damage the town's look, increase traffic and cause problems for independent local traders.
Tesco launched a legal challenge to the council's decision in September 2007 but the original decision was backed by planning inspectors.
The supermarket chain then submitted revised plans for a smaller store in the town last August.
Following yesterday's decision, a spokesperson for Tesco said: 'We're surprised. Planning officers made it clear that the Waitrose application would be detrimental to Sheringham town centre and local shops.
'The councillors' decision is at odds with government planning policy to protect the vitality of town centres.'

Tesco snubbed in first round of battle for Norfolk supermarket

Farmer persuades councillors to back 'green alternative' scheme despite opposition from planning officers

A former corporate boss turned farmer was today celebrating victory in the first round of his battle to keep Tesco out of his Norfolk town and bring in the rival Waitrose in its place.
Clive Hay-Smith's Greenhouse Community Project persuaded councillors his plan for a green alternative for Sheringham was a winner despite opposition from local planning officers.
Hay-Smith, once an executive in the Pearson media empire said: "It has restored my faith in democracy … It was very clear officers were not happy with the decision."
The decision by North Norfolk council's development committee will not be confirmed until it has taken legal advice. Officials had told the councillors that the plans would cause the town "material harm".
Waitrose are to build and run the supermarket on a site on the edge of Sheringham having joined the scheme in December. Hay-Smith is to fund a food academy in nutrition and cooking skills.
A spokesman for Tesco said: "We're surprised. Planning officers made it clear that the Waitrose application would be detrimental to Sheringham town centre and local shops. The councillors' decision is at odds with government planning policy to protect the vitality of town centres."

Tesco thwarted over Norfolk supermarket

Tesco today lost a controversial bid to site a supermarket in the centre of Sheringham in the latest twist in a decade-long battle by campaigners to resist the expansion of Britain’s biggest supermarket into the Norfolk resort.
Councillors on North Norfolk District Council rejected a plan for a store, even though it had been supported by the authority’s planning officials. Town councillors in Sheringham had opposed the store on Cromer Road on the grounds that it would harm the look and tradition of the town, increase traffic jams and hurt local independent traders.

Instead, North Norfolk District Council approved an edge-of-town community store proposed by local landowner Clive Hay-Smith that will have allotments and a food academy. In a blow to Tesco’s corporate prestige, the environmentally-friendly , the Greenhouse Project will be run in partnership with Waitrose.
Tesco, which has 30 per cent of the UK grocery market, has been fighting for the right to build a store in Sheringham since 1996 and launched a legal challenge to council’s rejection of its plans in 2007. In September 2008, planning inspectors backed the council, saying a 1,500 sq m store would jeapardise the “vitality, viability and retail function” of the historic resort. The supermarket submitted plans for a smaller store last August.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We're surprised by this decision. Planning officers made it clear that the Waitrose application would be detrimental to Sheringham town centre and local shops. The councillors’ decision is at odds with Government planning policy to protect and ensure the vitality of town centres.”
Friends of the Earth's food campaigner Helen Rimmer described the decision as “fantastic news” for the people and businesses of Sheringham.
“Tesco controls a third of the UK’s grocery market and communities up and down the country are fighting back against its takeover of our towns and cities,” she said.
“It is now vital that the Government and local authorities bring in new policies to support independent shops and the local economy to give communities a genuine choice about where to shop.”

Sheringham defeats Tesco with vote for Clive Hay-Smith’s eco-store

It was a little town without a Tesco, a curiosity in modern Britain, though no one expected that it would remain that way for very long.
Sheringham, in Norfolk, has held out for 14 years against the advances of the all-conquering supermarket. Yesterday, against expectations and the advice of the town’s planning officials, the forces of Tesco were routed.
Instead of a Tesco in the town centre, North Norfolk District Council planning committee voted in favour of an eco-friendly community project dreamt up by a local farmer.
It may seem an unlikely result, but opponents of the supermarket had a secret weapon: the local farmer was not quite all that he appeared. Clive Hay-Smith, 52, was indeed engaged in a spot of agriculture when he became involved in the fight against Tesco. Before running a farm, however, he had been running a branch of Pearson, the media empire.
After serving as president of the group’s assessment and testing division he retired from the City and moved back to Sheringham, his boyhood home, in search of a more peaceful existence. Instead, Mr Hay-Smith was pitched into what some regarded as a struggle for the very identity of the market town, a place with a high street that seemed to hail from an earlier era, full of butchers, bakers, fishmongers and grocers. His solution to the Tesco problem was to fight fire with fire, and so he proposed to build another supermarket on the outskirts of town.
The Greenhouse Country Store would be the greenest supermarket ever built: with solar panels, rainwater harvesting, eco-friendly refrigeration methods, a sedum plant roof and an electric bus service. Food would be sourced locally and, next door, Mr Hay-Smith would build the Norfolk Food Academy to teach nutrition and cooking skills.
If he won, Sheringham could become a rallying cry for groups across the country fighting the incursions of the supermarkets.
“Tesco has run up against someone with the time, the money and the inclination — certainly the inclination — to take it on,” he said.
He needed some help, however. In December he announced that the store would be run by Waitrose, a move that some of his allies seemed to regard as tantamount to a pact with the devil.
Yesterday, in spite of their doubts and the concerns of planners, he prevailed. “It was a very brave decision for Sheringham’s future,” he said afterwards.
Tesco expressed surprise. “Planning officers made it clear that the Waitrose application would be detrimental to Sheringham town centre and local shops,” said a spokesman.
“The council itself has announced that it will be seeking further independent legal advice on the legality of the decision.”
The battle for Sheringham may not be over quite yet.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Well done to the brave councillors who once again rejected the might of Tesco and opted for a scheme which would protect and enhance the values of Sheringham.

Let us hope that democracy ends on top and that the legal might of Tesco doesn't once again ride roughshod over the views of local people.

Congratulations must also go to the residents who have protested for so long and haven't given up. Keep up the good work.

Tesco loses Sheringham store wars

The latest battle in Sheringham's storewars today saw councillors approve plans for the eco-friendly Greenhouse Community Project while once again throwing out proposals for a Tesco in the town.

But the decision, voted in by a majority of 10 to six, could need to be reconsidered if North Norfolk District Council officers decide it could not be defended in a legal challenge.

The announcement came this afternoon following more than four hours of argument, counter argument and debate at the council officers in Cromer which saw councillors, businessmen, residents, school pupils and a headteacher all have their say.

Clive Hay-Smith's successful plans for the Greenhouse Community Project on Weybourne Road would include a supermarket managed by Waitrose as well as food academy.

After the meeting the delighted businessman congratulated councillors on making "a very brave decision for Sheringham's future" and said, subject to the legal checks, he hoped to have both the store and academy open by autumn 2011.

However Tesco spokesman Nick Gellatly said councillors had “clearly ignored government planning policy and their own officers' recommendations” to reach a decision that was “on shaky grounds” with “reasons to refuse that were cobbled together” and which the company would be studying.

Council officers had recommended councillors should approve the proposed Cromer Road Tesco store and refuse the Greenhouse-Waitrose plans because it was too far out of town.

They argued the Tesco site would encourage shoppers to also visit shops in the town centre while the rival scheme could harm other traders and would be poorly served by public transport - despite the backers' plans to offer a free electric bus service.

But while some councillors agreed, others feared extra retail units which would be built as part of the Tesco scheme for independent traders would soon be used by the supermarket giant to add to its sales space.

Clive Hay-Smith, the man behind the Greenhouse/Waitrose plan.
Councillor Barbara McGoun also insisted the chance to bring something unusual to the area, offered by the Greenhouse scheme, should not be missed. “The Weybourne Road plan is an absolute breath of fresh air,” she said.

In total 14 speakers, plus a representative from the town council, addressed the room during the meeting offering a mixture of views in favour and against both proposals.

During the meeting Sheringham High schoolgirl Hope Worsdale, clutching a plastic globe, spoke passionately in favour of the environment and the Greenhouse scheme which she said would act as a beacon for retailers across the country and encourage further eco-friendly development.

The 15-year-old, who has lived in Sheringham for 12 years, said: “It is the way forward with genuine values and beliefs which are needed to get us out of the mess we are in.”

Following the decision she described the committee's decision as “a move in the right direction” and hoped legal issues would not prevent the Greenhouse Project being built.

But Jono Read, who runs a Facebook group supporting the Tesco plans, insisted fears that the Cromer Road site would mean an end to many of the smaller independent shops were unfounded. “Tesco won't kill the town,” he told the meeting.

He said the plans and the prospect of new jobs created by them would be welcomed by many.

He said: “Weekend, night time and holiday jobs are exactly what people like me are calling out for.”

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tesco in line to win Sheringham store battle

Tesco looks poised to win the long and bitter battle to build a supermarket at Sheringham - if councillors follow the advice of their officers. Planning officials are recommending approval of Tesco's long-running bid for a store on Cromer Road and refusal of a rival Greenhouse Project scheme on Weybourne Road. The decision will be taken at a special development control committee meeting of North Norfolk District Council on Thursday, March 4. Councillors have ignored officer guidance in the past, but this time are being urged to back the latest scheme by Tesco, which has been trying to build a store for years, rather than a newer scheme hatched by a local landowner Clive Hay-Smith. His Greenhouse scheme on Weybourne Road is earmarked for refusal as it failed to show it was the best “sequentially available site” closest to the town centre, was poorly served by public transport, would harm the town centre, and was against national and local planning policies. Both store plans are roughly the same size, but the Tesco one is 300m from the town centre and the Waitrose store 1,000m away. The council's retail consultant said the Tesco site's location on the edge of the town centre, with a walkway through, would encourage shoppers to heading to the existing shops. But the farther-flung Waitrose store would cause more harm to the town centre, leading to “substantial closures of food and convenience shops”. Closure of the Co-Op was a “distinct possibility” under both plans. Officers praised the environmental and community initiatives of the Greenhouse scheme - such as linked allotments, educational food academy and local food sourcing - but said they did not outweigh the breaches of planning policy. Highways officials said it was “not a sustainable location” and the offers of electric shuttle bus services were an admission of that. The report says the Waitrose scheme “would be harmful to the vitality and viability of the town centre to a far greater extent than a store sited within easy walking distance.” The impact of the Tesco plan was “likely to be greater than stated by the applicant”, but was acceptable on balance.A previous design was condemned as “mundane” by the appeal inspector, but officials now say the latest one is “the best yet”, being bolder and more linked the surroundings. The Greenhouse plan has received 223 letters in favour and 55 against, while Tesco's had 287 letters of support, with 236 and a 96-name petition against. The 80-page agenda is available from the council including on line at

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

D-Day looms for Sheringham store plans

Rival plans for a supermarket at Sheringham will go head to head at a crunch council meeting on March 4. The face-off is between two big high street names - one which has been targeting the town for 14 years, the other a newcomer to the battle. Tesco has been trying to build a store in the resort since 1996 in the face of fierce opposition from traders and town councillors who fear it will harm the existing vibrant town centre - a view upheld by a planning inspector who rejected an appeal by the retail giant, and also tagged the design “mundane.” It has come back with revised plans featuring a store that is a fifth smaller, moved closer to the town centre, and designed by renowned architects who created Tyneside's “winking eye” footbridge. Waitrose would run a store promoted last year by local businessman Clive Hay-Smith in a bid to provide an alternative to Tesco. It would have electric delivery vehicles and shoppers buses, and be linked to plans for a neighbouring Norfolk Food Academy teaching cookery and food understanding. It is on an allotment site given in a land swap with the town council, which has created 200 new allotments. North Norfolk District Council's planning committee will debate the pros and cons of each scheme next Thursday at a special meeting starting at 9.30am. It is a decision which will have far-reaching impact on the future of the town and which has seen it split into vocal factions in the past. The council has confirmed the date of the meeting and an agenda containing officers' recommendations should be out by tomorrow. Tesco argues its store is needed to stop the majority of locals driving to supermarkets in neighbouring towns for their big weekly shop and that Sheringham would benefit from spin-off trade as people walked through to the town centre from free three-hour parking - particularly as the Tesco scheme is 150m from the town centre, while the Waitrose one is 1km away. The Greenhouse scheme says it also aims to provide for the weekly shop, with an emphasis on local quality food, and a range of goods designed to complement rather than cripple the local economy. It wanted to prevent Sheringham becoming “another Tesco town” while the sale of the store to Waitrose would bolster a community fund supporting local projects. The plans at a glance:
Location - Cromer Road (on site of community centre and fire station, which would be replaced elsewhere)
Sales space - 1,175 sq m Parking - 143 spaces free for three hours
Jobs created - 150

Waitrose / Greenhouse
Location - Weybourne Road (on former allotment land next to Splash leisure centre)
Sales space - 1,250 sq m
Parking - 135, with power points for mobility scooters. Free electric bus.
Jobs created - 155

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Waitrose eyes new Norfolk superstore

Supermarket chain Waitrose is determined to open a store in north Norfolk, either at Sheringham or elsewhere, says a company boss.

The retailer has thrown its hat into the ring of the town's “store wars” planning battle with rivals Tesco which has split the community in a sometimes bitter war of words and which now looks likely to be decided next month. Waitrose would operate an eco-friendly Greenhouse Project store on the Weybourne Road promoted by local landowner Clive Hay-Smith as an alternative to Tesco's long-running plans on the Cromer Road. The Greenhouse scheme, which would feature electric delivery vehicles and shopper buses, is also linked to a Norfolk Food Academy that would promote cookery and food knowledge next door.

Waitrose's development director Nigel Keen said the company did not want to “get embroiled in spats which have occurred previously. But he said Waitrose had been looking at Sheringham as a possible store venue for “some time,” but felt Tesco had the “dominant position”. When it was approached by Mr Hay-Smith, “some months ago” the scheme matched the company's green and local food sourcing credentials, as well as policies of supporting local farmers and running cooking schools, which it does at its stores in Southend and Cheltenham. “We felt we should support it to give Sheringham people another option. We would like to be close to the town centre but that is not possible. The people of Sheringham will look at both schemes. It is not for us to get into a debate about who is the best operator. If this site doesn't happen we will be disappointed because it is a chance to provide something for the community,” he said, adding that if refused the company would continue to look for sites in Sheringham and other towns.

Waitrose, which is part of the John Lewis group, has 223 stores across the UK, including at Norwich, Wymondham and Swaffham.

The Greenhouse scheme has planning policy hurdles to leap because of its location on the edge of town, while Tesco is hoping its revised plans with improved designs, and moving the store closer to existing shops, will overcome previous objections including potential impact on the existing town centre.

The provisional date for a decision by North Norfolk District Council's planning committee is now March 4.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sheringham store decision delayed

A crucial decision to resolve Sheringham's long-running store wars saga has been postponed again - because of new government planning policies. Rival plans by Tesco, which has been seeking a Cromer Road store for more than decade, and a newer scheme by landowner Clive Hay-Smith whose Greenhouse Project store on the Weybourne Road would be run by Waitrose, were expected to go before a council committee later this month. But the timetable has been de-railed by the recent announcement of 19 new planning policies - which officers need to study in depth to see how they affect the supermarket plans. It is now hoped to reschedule a meeting in February to resolve an issue which has dominated and divided the town for years. Tesco has had previous plans turned down at appeal, over fears about the impact on the vibrancy of the existing town centre and criticism of a dull design - but the retail giant has come back with a revised scheme hatched by top architects, and moved slightly closer to main shopping area. The Greenhouse scheme aims to source local produce, use electric buses and delivery vehicles, and be linked to a Norfolk Food academy promoting cookery and food knowledge - but is farther from the town centre, next to the Splash leisure pool. The potential benefits and drawbacks of each plan has been the focus of long and bitter controversy in the community, which has split into campaign groups and factions doing battle through the press and on the internet. Planning Policy Statement 4 aims to “deliver more sustainable patterns of development, reduce the need to travel, especially by car and respond to climate change”, and promote “the vitality and viability of town and other centres as important places for communities”. As reported earlier, it will replace a previous “needs test” with a tougher one looking at the impact of proposals on a range of areas including the effect on the high street, choice, consumer spending, jobs and climate change. The council said it, the applicants and the council's independent retail consultant now needed to see if, and how, the new policies, backed up by a 100-page “practical guidance” document, affect the supermarket applications, which were initially due to be heard on December 17, then on January 21. Head of planning and building control Steve Oxenham said: “We know these decisions are hugely important to the community of Sheringham, and we want to bring this to a conclusion as soon as possible.“The timing of these new government policies is unfortunate, but we will work as quickly as we can to gather all the information we need, hopefully in time for a February meeting.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stores decision delayed until January

A final decision on the two competing Sheringham supermarket plans will not be made until after Christmas, it was announced today. Those for and against the long standing Tesco plan and the more recent Greenhouse community project had been hoping for a resolution to the debate on December 17, which was the expected date of a development control meeting at North Norfolk District Council. But the sheer weight of submissions received on the two applications has meant the committee will not consider the plans until either January 21 or 28 - although it could theoretically end up being postponed again. The news was met with very different responses from the teams behind the two plans. Speaking on behalf of the Greenhouse project, Clive Hay-Smith said: “We think this is absolutely the right decision.“There are many critical consultee responses still outstanding, and this brief delay gives the district council's planning officers every opportunity to fully inform elected council members on all aspects of this important issue.” But Nick Gellatly from Tesco said: “This delay will be frustrating for many people who were hoping for good news this Christmas when household budgets are so tight. “I'm disappointed because we're certain our store meets all the planning policy requirements councillors should make their decisions on, it will be a stone's throw from local shops.” Peter Battrick, spokesman for the district council, said December 17 had never been confirmed as a definite date, but it had been the aim of the council to bring it to committee on that day. “We are still receiving some fairly weighty submissions, evidence that needs to be looked at carefully and incorporated into everybody's thoughts,” he added.“It would have been useful to have it done before Christmas, but the council is not going to rush through things.” The two competing sides in Sheringham's continuing supermarket war have both lodged formal objections to the planning application put forward by their rival. Among the raft of supporting and objecting statements which will be considered by council officers and elected members both in the run up to January's meeting are an objection from the Greenhouse team to the Tesco plan and another from the Tesco team to the Greenhouse plan. Each lengthy objection raises a number of points. Clive Hay Smith, the man behind the Greenhouse plan, has claimed that the Tesco plan will see affordable housing removed and not replaced and that there are highways ground to refuse the application.Tesco for their part say their plan is a “more viable, sustainable and policy compliant scheme”. But both objections go into far greater detail than this and are many pages long.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sheringham supermarket war latest

The two competing sides in Sheringham's continuing supermarket war have both lodged formal objections to the planning application put forward by their rival. The long running attempt by Tesco to build a store in town and the newer, rival Greenhouse 'ecostore' plan will both come before North Norfolk District Council's west area development committee on December 17. Among the raft of supporting and objecting statements which will be considered by council officers and elected members both in the run up to and during the meeting are an objection from the Greenhouse team to the Tesco plan and another from the Tesco team to the Greenhouse plan. Each lengthy objection raises a number of points.Clive Hay Smith, the man behind the Greenhouse plan, has claimed that the Tesco plan will see affordable housing removed and not replaced and that there are highways ground to refuse the application. Tesco for their part say their plan is a “more viable, sustainable and policy compliant scheme”. But both objections go into far greater detail than this and are many pages long. Mr Hay Smith, who was the first of the two to enter an objection, said: “The Tesco objection is not unexpected and we don't think that the general public or district councillors will be fooled by Tesco's latest attempt to discredit our scheme with this kind of self-interested misinformation and spin.” And Nick Gellatly from Tesco said: “We have written to the district council explaining why the Greenhouse store would not be right for Sheringham.“We have also found irregularities in the information provided on important issues such as traffic and the store's green energy proposals.”

Monday, September 07, 2009

New Tesco Planning Application

The plans for the proposed new Tesco store can be found here -
planning application