Save our Sheringham - Say NO to Tesco

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why Tesco is appealing store decision

Tesco is questioning the logic of a planning inspector who threw out its plans for a store at Sheringham, it has emerged. And if the retail giant succeeds in getting the appeal decision quashed, it is likely to result in another public inquiry in front of a different inspector. North Norfolk district councillors, whose refusal of the store was upheld by planning inspector Christina Davies, have been told that Tesco's challenge of the result runs to 19 pages, supported by “voluminous” copies of documents tabled at the last inquiry which ran for three weeks in August. In a briefing to the full council, leader Virginia Gay said the main points of Tesco's appeal against the outcome were: The inspector's findings over the need for further retail floorspace were illogical and irrational. Not enough weight was given to proposed changes to the govern-ment's planning guidelines over town centres, while too much was given to a policy in the district's Local Development Framework core strategy. The inspector's findings and reasoning on potential “disaggrega-tion” of retail provision were illogical. She failed to have proper regard to design changes for the proposed store. There was a failure to undertake a proper “balancing exercise” which would have weighed in favour of approval. Tesco has been battling for more than a decade to build a store on the Cromer Road, which it says will stop people having to drive to other towns for their main weekly shop, and would help Sheringham with spin-off trade. The plans have split the town, but opponents, including a local campaign, town council and chamber of trade, all say it will permanently harm the vitality of the existing town centre - one of the main reasons cited for throwing out the plans in the appeal result. After studying the inquiry findings, Tesco has now decided to fight on with its project, which would also see Sheringham's community centre and fire station relocated. Mrs Gay said the challenge was unlikely to be heard at the high court until mid 2009 because of a backlog of planning cases. If Tesco won, the appeal would be sent back to the planning inspect-orate, and would be likely to see another inquiry in front of a new inspector. Council spokesman Nick Manthorpe later added that any new inquiry might mean freshening evidence, but was unlikely to involve the £200,000 cost of the last one, as much of the work would have already been done.