Local retailers celebrated victory in the 13-year battle to prevent Tesco opening a store in the town, as the supermarket failed in its appeal to overturn North Norfolk District Council’s refusal of its planning application.
In the appeal decision report planning inspector Christina Downes said: “Even at the lower level of impact it was considered likely that one of the small supermarkets would close and several other businesses would potentially do so.
“The harm that I have identified to the vitality, viability and retail function of Sheringham town centre and the likely detrimental impact on future investment is of overriding importance.”
Local Budgens retailer Paul Burnell called the decision “a victory for small stores which will no doubt be used by other communities and councils fighting the predatory tactics of the supermarkets”.
Paul added: ‘The way Tesco has gone about this bid hasn’t impressed anyone around here. They didn’t listen to local people.”
He said residents were in favour of plans for a larger Budgens store in the town.
Fellow local retailer Nigel Dowdney added: “This is a victory for local retailers and the community. It goes to show that Tesco will not inevitably gain planning permission, and that there are tools within the current planning system to prevent superstores being built when to do so may have a devastating impact on the local community and traders.”
Tesco responded by saying it planned to double the size of its outlet in nearby Stalham, where Nigel owns a store. A spokesman said: “The inspector’s decision confirms that she visited other town centres including Stalham and found that they had different characteristics and thus the circumstances were not comparable.”
How communities are
taking on Tesco:
● Bicester, Oxfordshire: Plans to double the size of a store on Pringle Drive were scrapped after planning permission was refused. Cherwell District Council said that it wanted to promote retail development in the town centre rather than out of town. Councillor Michael Gibbard said that if the store had been given the green light it would have drained resources from the town centre.
● Leigh, Lancashire: More than 100 letters of petition have been sent to Leigh Council following the announcement that Tesco is planning to build an Express store opposite a primary school on London Road. Most concerns regarded traffic, given so many children would be nearby. Plans are under public consultation until September 19.
● Braunstone, Leicester: The plan to build a Tesco Express in the car park next to a 350-year-old pub has led to opposition from locals. Although Tesco said that it was trying to form a plan that would be sympathetic to the site, protestors believe that the area is essentially the village green.
● Manningtree, Essex: Local campaigners have objected to a planned Tesco store, saying it would damage the town’s trade and traffic flow. “We are not anti-Tesco per se, but we are against the size of the store,” said Stour Community First chairman Michael Coultharde-Steer. Tesco owns an estimated 10% of all land in the parish.