COUNCIL coffers will get £1.2m
from super-market giant Tesco if the controversial store at Sheringham gets the go-ahead. But North Norfolk District Council has stressed that the deal does not affect the long-running planning saga - which is due to come to a head at an inquiry, which will take place in July. Tesco's planned site covers a range of council-owned land, which includes flats, a community centre and fire station. Part of an original deal between the council and company over the Lockerbie Flats in 2003 included asking Tesco to provide 11 replace-ment homes at nearby Weston Terrace and £150,000 in cash. But the council changed tack, and sought a total cash deal, which has now been negotiated at £1.2m and was agreed by the cabinet on Monday. Chief executive Phillip Burton said the cash offered more flexibility in how the money was spent, and got around problems being encountered in developing the Weston Terrace site. The homes plan had sparked opposition from neighbours as it would remove land which had been for allotments, and was in a sensitive location near Beeston Common. The report to cabinet added that all the former Lockerbie tenants had been rehoused, and the Weston scheme for bungalows for the elderly did not really tackle the higher local need for family accommodation. Resources portfolio holder Peter Moore told the cabinet: “I must emphasise the deal has no bearing at all on the planning appeal. We are just making sure our position is safeguarded if Tesco are successful, and if they decide to build.”After the meeting council leader and cabinet chairman Simon Partridge said: “People may talk of this being a Tesco bribe, but nothing is further from the truth. “The land and planning issues are totally different. If the appeal finds in our favour we don't get Tesco or the money.” If the council lost and got the money most of it would be spent on affordable housing. The Tesco appeal hearing will start on July 1, at the council headquarters, and is expected to last three weeks.A sum of £200,000 has been earmarked to prepare the council's case, and a further £350,000 set aside in case it loses and has costs awarded against it.