Archive for 22nd November 2007

Tesco superstore rejected by Norfolk council – campaigning works!

Conservationists have hailed a council’s decision to refuse permission for a Tesco supermarket in the Norfolk seaside town of Sheringham.

  Tesco Extra store: The decision has been hailed as a 'real victory'
Tesco store: The decision has been hailed as a ‘real victory’

Councillors from North Norfolk district council took the decision unanimously, by a vote of 17-0, against a recommendation from their officials to approve the 1500 sq metre store.

The controversial proposal has been the subject of a ten-year-long battle between the retailer and opponents within the town.

It became a cause célèbre last year when it emerged that the council had signed a legal agreement with Tesco that it had kept secret for years, and that as a result of the agreement the council was blocking the development of an alternative, smaller retail development in the town.

Officials had warned councillors that they would be liable to pay legal costs if the retailer chose to appeal.

Tom Oliver, Head of Rural Policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The decision by North Norfolk District Council sends a clear message of hope for local communities up and down the country that the supermarket onslaught can be successfully resisted

“Those in Government who urge an easing of planning rules for supermarkets should think again and listen to the will of the people expressed today in Norfolk.”

The Government’s forthcoming planning Bill would remove the ability of local planners to decide on the “need” for a retail development.

Sandra Bell, supermarket campaigner for Friends of the Earth said: “The decision to say No to Tesco in Sheringham is a real victory for the local community and for democracy.

“Elected councillors in North Norfolk should be congratulated on standing up to the retail giant and acting to protect the character and vibrancy of this seaside town.

“They were absolutely right to go against the recommendation of planning officers which put forward a flawed case for approving a superstore development which would have wiped out local shops in the town and increased traffic and congestion.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “This is a sad day for the majority of Sheringham’s residents who will now have to wait for a store.”

Tesco still have an appeal outstanding against the alleged failure of the council to decide a planning application for a virtually identical development in 2003. This has yet to be decided by a planning inspector.

Daily Telegraph, 22nd November 2007