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Thursday31 July 2014

Alsop berates council over go-ahead for Norfolk Tesco

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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.

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Readers' comments (13)

  • Les Donovalsky

    When I worked for Rogers, we would never have done a Tescos.

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  • Bit rich coming from him. He has produced a few turkeys in his time and people just have to live with these eye sores. Now its in his back yard by someone else he doesnt like it. What goes around comes around.

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  • haha! turkeys.

    what if it was a Waitrose?

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  • The campaigners were protesting against a national supermarket chain by.....promoting a different supermarket chain, in a less convenient location on top of it! I am by the way against the Tesco-isation of Britain, but having one big outlet in your town is convenient. I'll bet your bottom dollar that many of the people complaining will shop there.

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  • Don't it always seem to go?
    That you don't know what you've got
    Till it's gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a massive Tesco...

    dont worry peepz peak oil will sort all this stuff out, then we will be eating from our back gardens because there will be no oil to transport the goods to these superstores...

    patience...

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  • It's usual for a casting vote where there is a tie to maintain the status quo, ie things as they are, otherwise the decision is made by one person and not the committee.

    Was this to avoid an expensive appeal by Tesco? It can afford it, a local authority cannot. Thus the planning system is skewed in favour of the mighty.

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  • I just love BD's neutral stance comments, the Waitrose scheme 'created a 975sq m hemp-walled Waitrose supermarket, a food academy, training restaurant and allotments with a free electric bus service for customers' while Tescos 'will include a zig-zag glass entrance canopy and a pedestrian plaza'.

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  • I holidayed in North Norfolk for ten days this summer; certainly a dearth of food shopping possibilities. Its a question of scale materials and context. The pitchy roofed - oak framed glazed aesthetic could tie it in with the local vernacular.

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  • I trust Will Alsop understands that Judicial Review of this decision is entirely feasible and just needs his involvement along with others to get it going. Sadly I find myself wondering how much influence donations to party coffers or political party in-fighting about each other might have had on the ultimate decision. I don't see a lot of expertise on planning committees down this way and I expect its the same country-wide.

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  • Webcheck Wideboyoffski

    I am a great fan of Tescos. Cheap and cheerful. None of this middle class Waitrose stuff, full of posh English architect types.

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