Alsop berates council over go-ahead for Norfolk Tesco
Will Alsop has hit out at his local council for handing planning permission to a highly controversial Tesco development designed by Wilkinson Eyre
Following a 14-year campaign to keep the retail giant out of the seaside town of Sheringham, North Norfolk District Council last week approved the Tesco scheme and rejected the rival “Greenhouse” project by Norwich-based LSI Architects for a Waitrose-led eco supermarket development.
The council’s planning committee had been deadlocked after a heated six-hour meeting with only the chairman’s casting vote securing victory for Tesco.
Alsop, who lives in the town with his wife Sheila, said he was “very disappointed” that the Greenhouse scheme, masterminded by local landowner Clive Hay-Smith, had been defeated.
The project would have created a 975sq m hemp-walled Waitrose supermarket, a food academy, training restaurant and allotments with a free electric bus service for customers.
“The Waitrose scheme, together with the allotments, would have been fantastic for the town and would have given it another edge rather than having just another Tesco,” Alsop said.
“I was supporting the local guy. The project was so good and everyone I spoke to in the town was in favour of it.”
Wilkinson Eyre’s 1,175sq m Tesco development, closer to the town centre than its rival, will include a zig-zag glass entrance canopy and a pedestrian plaza. Like the Greenhouse scheme, it also includes a community centre.
The prospect of a major new Tesco has divided the town for years. A non-binding referendum last month found residents were split equally, with Tesco winning by only 15 votes.
In March, the planning committee overruled officers and provisionally backed LSI’s scheme. But last week several councillors changed their minds because of changes made by Tesco, including improved links to the town centre and the removal of three small shop units.
After the vote, the council issued a statement insisting its decision was made purely on planning grounds and that Wilkinson Eyre’s was the better scheme for the town.
Tesco will now hammer out final details with the council.