This weekend saw a number of articles in the national and local press relating how the District Council have suddenly decided to approve a Tesco in Sheringham. In the Guardian they state that "The Guardian has learned that the elected councillors ended their opposition because they discovered they were bound by an secret legal agreement between former council staff and Tesco. The agreement, containing a confidentiality clause forbidding any discussion of the planning dispute, leaves the council powerless, according to council lawyers... The council leader Simon Partridge confirmed an investigation into the secret contract had been launched. Signed by council staff in 2003, before the current councillors were sworn in, it prevents councillors from considering a proposal by a rival supermarket to build smaller store on council land. When the council rejected Tesco's plan, it committed itself to examining another proposal to build a Budgens supermarket on council land. Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem MP for North Norfolk, said he was horrified by the "apparent fact that the council is constrained in acting in the way it wants to act" He said: 'I understand that the councillors are in an impossible position. They have been given legal advice and must maintain confidentiality.'"
Read the full story here Secret deal behind a Norfolk town's mystery U-turn on new supermarket
The EDP also reports the story Anger at 11th hour Tesco document
What we need to know now is how the advice of planning staff to councillors was influenced by this document. More importantly though, what other documents and deals are still hiding in the shadows?