The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) hailed a unanimous decision today (Thursday) by a local council to turn down a supermarket application at Sheringham in Norfolk. “The decision by North Norfolk District Council sends a clear message of hope for local communities up and down the country that the supermarket onslaught can be successfully resisted’, said Tom Oliver, Head of Rural Policy at CPRE. CPRE calls on the Government to take heed of the decision and reject a mistaken quest to liberalise the planning system in the spurious name of consumer choice. Tesco should also reconsider their on-going appeal in the light of this clearest of verdicts. You would have to set your mind against the democratic process not to understand the significance of this decision. Those in Government who urge an easing of planning rules for supermarkets should think again and listen to the will of the people expressed today in Norfolk’, Tom Oliver continued. Almost all the evidence suggests that overprovision of out-of-scale supermarkets in market towns damages their local economies, reduces real choice and diminishes their distinctive character. CPRE has long campaigned to strengthen existing planning controls on supermarket expansion and the Sheringham decision vindicates this position.
‘This is wonderful news. There was an informed and thoughtful discussion by councillors which was heartening to all who have faith in the benefits of local democracy. The council are not going to roll over to a powerful organisation when they believe they have a right and just case’ said local CPRE’s local campaigner, Ian Shepherd.
‘We congratulate the local council on their courageous decision and have every confidence they will plan and deliver the right retail facilities for the town’s long term benefit’, Tom Oliver concluded.