A fighting fund of more than £500,000 has been agreed by a council facing a planning battle with supermarket giants Tesco.
North Norfolk District Council last night agreed to put aside £200,000 to cover its own possible costs at a planning appeal over the company's long-running bid to put a store at Sheringham - recently rejected 17-0 by a joint development committee. But it also agreed a contingency fund of £350,000 just in case costs were awarded against the authority - even though members were told that was unlikely unless its decision was considered unreasonable. Resources cabinet member Peter Moore said it was just a prudent sum to back its “robust” defence which “we expect to win”. The council's costs were high because consultants were needed to put its case after planning officers recommended approval of the store. Opposition leader Angie Tillett praised the planning committee “courageous” decision to refuse Tesco and said potential costs did not come into the debate. And council leader Simon Partridge refuted claims from some members of the public that the vote went against majority wishes, adding “It was totally democratic. If people don't get the decision they want, they say it was undemocratic.” Eric Seward said there was no need for an appeal if Tesco bowed to democracy and came back with revised plans which met the council's criteria."