The great supermarket debate
which has engulfed Sheringham for many years looks set to remain in limbo until legal advice is received about the implications of complaints against councillors. As reported previously in the EDP, councillors at North Norfolk District Council decided in March to back the Waitrose supermarket aspect of the wider Greenhouse Community Project on the outskirts of town and refuse permission for the town centre Tesco plan. As also reported at the time, that decision could still be overruled if it turns out, as council officers fear, to have been made on shaky grounds which could be challenged legally. Almost three months on and that situation remains unresolved. A statement from the Greenhouse Community Project, which is being headed by Clive Hay Smith said project members and partners "continued to be frustrated by the apparent reluctance of the council to ratify the democratic decision taken by elected members" in early March. The statement said this was espec-ially frustrating given that the council's external legal advice accorded with the project's own independent advice from leading counsel. They also said complaints against councillors appeared to feature "trumped-up charges" and added: "We are watching this situation very closely and will be taking further legal advice to ensure the democratic process is not abused." Meanwhile, Nick Gellatly of Tesco said: "It is nearly three months since the planning committee took the decision to go against the advice of their officers, consultants as well as local and national planning policy." Mr Gellatly said he was sure many local people would be as disappointed as he was that delays continued." However, we understand that the council must take care to reach proper and justifiable decisions, but hope that they will be able to name the date for a decision at the earliest possible opportunity. "Council spokesman Nick Manthorpe said: "We have sought, and are awaiting, legal advice on the implications of the four standards complaints against three councillors involved in making the decision in March. We need to know whether and how those issues might affect the validity of that decision. We need that legal advice before we can know how to move forward and determine these important applications."