Save our Sheringham - Say NO to Tesco

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tesco unveils new Sheringham vision

Tesco executives have unveiled a new vision for a Sheringham supermarket, hoping to answer 13 years of criticism. But, as crowds scrambled to get a better look at the plans, the split in the town seemed as strong as ever. The store chain claims to have started from scratch on its plans for the Cromer Road site after its last proposals were thrown out by a planning inspector in September. An exhibition on Friday at Oddfellows Hall revealed its vision of a building that is a quarter smaller than the previous offering, positioned closer to Station Road to encourage shoppers to stay in town and of a design which, Tesco hopes, will answer the inspector's criticisms of a "mundane" appearance. Tesco had brought in Wilkinson Eyre, the architects behind the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, and spokesman Nick Gellatly said that, at just 6.5m high and using a combination of brick and flint, the building would blend in better with its surroundings. He added: "We have tried to make the building fit comfortably with its area. We are using materials used in some of the other buildings nearby."But, while the proposed 1,250 sq ft supermarket aimed to reconcile the two disparate camps in the town, a notice board full of comments from visitors to the exhibition suggested the split was still very much in place. Comments such as "Yes please, do it soon" and "Much needed, best wishes from us who suffer high prices in Sheringham" were balanced out by others saying "Not in my name" and "Too large, wrong place". After looking at the proposals, Pam Blyth, from the Protesc group, said she believed the company had bent over backwards to make people happy. She said of the plans: "They're absolutely brilliant. I think they have gone 150pc towards answering all the concerns of the people. It's absolutely superb and will fit in with the town." But Eroica Mildmay, of Sheringham Campaign Against Major Retail Overdevelopment, said the new plans were too vague to win anyone over. She added: "There is no picture of what the town will be like. It's being kept deliberately vague. I left feeling a little bit inconclusive about what it was they were offering." Tesco said it had purposely not drawn up a finished design as it hoped feedback from the exhibition could be used to influence a final appearance. Several people seemed sceptical about the prospect of a smaller store, believing future expansion was inevitable, but Mr Gellatly said: "The site is so constrained it would be very difficult to extend. You can never say never, but we cannot see how we could do it."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

New twist in Norfolk store wars

A store wars saga at Sheringham has taken a fresh twist as a new contender entered the fray with a groundbreaking idea for a supermarket which seeks to help the environment and local traders. The seaside town has been the focus of a battle to build a store for more than a decade, with Tesco and Budgens leading the way in the past. But, just as Tesco prepared to unveil its latest plans for a scaled- down store, a local landowner has thrown his hat in the ring with a pioneering plan. It involves a store in an eco-friendly building, that would have electric delivery vehicles and plough a share of its profits back into a new community charity. The rank outsider saddling up for the race to build a store is retired businessman Clive Hay-Smith, driven by a desire to add another option to the long-running debate, and a feeling that Sheringham deserved better than the plans served up so far by Tesco. The 52-year-old, who was chief executive in the Pearson publishing empire, was brought up in Sheringham and had “watched the Tesco debate from afar”. He explained: “I have been thinking about this for a year. The community deserves better than what Tesco is planning.” Mr Hay-Smith's plan on the Weybourne Road near the Splash pool, revolves around a land swap already agreed in principle by Sheringham Town Council. He would give the town 13 acres of farmland, enabling it to double the number of allotments and provide space to expand the cemetery. In return he would build a Greenhouse Country Store on the four-acre allotment plot, in a building with a sedum roof, solar panels and wind turbines. Mr Hay-Smith said he aimed to build and operate the store, but would consider letting a retailer run it if they were “of the right profile”, with 10pc of any sale proceeds going to the charity trust. The swap could go ahead even if the store scheme did not come off, said Mr Hay-Smith who said although his store was the same size as the original Tesco scheme, it was a different, greener approach, and less of a traffic hazard away from the roundabout and fire station. Sheringham mayor Noel Gant confirmed the council had agreed in principle “after considerable discussion” to the land swap because of the benefits to a community where there was a 40-strong waiting list for allotments. Eroica Mildmay, whose Sheringham Campaign Against Major Retail Overdevelopment group has opposed the Tesco plans, could not comment fully about the Greenhouse scheme until she knew all the facts, but welcomed the “community viability issues at the centre of its ethos” and green design. North Norfolk District Council community director Steve Blatch said he was aware of the proposal, and had “not dismissed it out of hand”. But the council had made the developer aware of a “substantial number of policy issues”, such as being well outside the town centre retail area and close to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” Tesco's plans, to be revealed tomorrow, aim to overcome concerns - centred on the potential damage to the existing vibrant town centre, and attacks on its bland design - which saw its original scheme rejected by planners and a government inspector on appeal. The company has reduced the size of sales floor space by a quarter, making it similar to the its store at Aylsham.
Greenhouse Country Store
1,500 sq m of retail space
would employ 130 staff
orders, made by phone or on-line, delivered by electric vehicles
locally-sourced products used where possible.
a café could be an attraction itself on the coast road
would not sell books, clothes, electrical goods or ironmonger in a bid to co-exist with current traders
a minimum of 10pc of the profits to be ploughed back into a charitable trust to help local causes
An exhibition outlining the green store plans will be held in Sheringham, at the old Lloyds Bank building, on April 7-9, from 8am to 8pm.

1,200-1,250 sq m retail space
would offer a “good range of food and groceries, with a very limited selection of other goods”
new plans aim to improve the design and pick up on local architecture
revised plans could also move the store closer to Station Road to strengthen linked walking trips to the town centre
fuller details will be revealed at an exhibition being held at the Oddfellows Hall on Lifeboat Plain, behind the Crown pub on the seafront, on Friday from 10am to 8pm and Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tesco seeks smaller store at Sheringham

Tesco is looking to make its proposed supermarket at Sheringham about a quarter smaller than its previous plans. Revised ideas for the controversial scheme are being revealed at a public exhibition in the town on Friday and Saturday. The company says the latest plan, for about 1,200 sq m of sales space rather then the original 1,500, would mean it was a similar size to the store at Aylsham. And the position of the store could change, with an option to put it close to Station Road in a move to attract visitors to the rest of Sheringham's shops. Tesco has brought in award-winning architects to take a fresh look at the plans after rejection by planners and a government inspector, centred on concerns it would damage the vitality of the town centre and reservations over the bland design. Emerging new planning blueprints favour a 750 sq m store, but Tesco have always said a larger one was needed to stop people driving out of the area to do their weekly shop. The company stresses the new store would offer a “good range of food and groceries for the main food shopping trip, with a very limited selection of other goods, reflecting views on the previous plans.” Tesco spokesman Nick Gellatly said: "It's clear there are many people that would like a local Tesco. Our new architects, Wilkinson Eyre, have started from scratch to design a better store that will bring value, choice and convenience to local residents. “The official decision on our last proposal also confirmed that Sheringham needs a supermarket but that it should be smaller than our previous plans. We also know the store must be big enough to attract new visitors to town.” Members of the public can see the new plans and talk to Tesco representatives at the Oddfellows Hall on Lifeboat Plain, behind the Crown pub on the seafront, on Friday from 10am to 8pm and Saturday from 10am to 3pm. Further information is also available from