December 5 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The sound of champagne corks popping added to the lilting tones of traditional seaside songs as Sheringham Tesco celebrated its launch in the town.
After early birds flocked to be the first through the door at 8am a ribbon cutting ceremony, accompanied by the Sheringham Shantymen, was held at 10am.
Store manager Simon Nellis presented then presented cheques for £500 to Woodfields School and the town’s Royal British Legion branch, before customers piled through the doors to enjoy champagne and cake.
Mr Nellis said the opening had been a “jubilant” occasion and feedback from the first customers had been “totally positive”.
He added: “What I’m going to try and do is add value and support everyone as much as I can.
“I’d like people to think of me as an approachable person. Yes Tesco is a very big business but I want to bring a personal approach to it.”
A queue of shoppers with trolleys waited eagerly outside the 14,000 sq ft store this morning before it opened to cheers and applause.
Trolleys trundled down aisles on land that used to be a fire station and community centre as the supermarket swung into action.
It follows a long and often acrimonious planning battle stretching back 17 years.
Opponents have voiced fears it would damage the existing town centre and cause traffic problems on the main coast road, while Tesco say it will bring in more spin off trade from people previously going to other towns for their big shop.
Queues and cheers welcomed the opening of the doors at 8am.
A queue of early risers began lining up with trolleys from 7.45am ahead of the opening, keen to be the first ones to explore the 14,000sq ft store.
Pamela Henderson, from Robertson Close, Sheringham, was the first customer to step inside, after chatting to the media. She was presented with chocolates and champagne by store manager Simon Nellis.
Mrs Henderson, 65, said she was thrilled to have Tesco in the town.
“I can’t drive or anything because I’m disabled so it’s super for me,” she added.
“It will be a complement for the town and I think it will bring people here.”
A steady trickle of customers, including pupils nipping in before school, are now strolling into the store.
Long-time anti Tesco campaigner Eroica Mildmay said her feelings has not change one iota, adding: “It is possibly the countdown to the demise of the high street.”
Andy Bullen, secretary of the chamber of trade which was among the opponents, said he hoped people would stay loyal to the local independent stores, and that he would personally not be shopping at Tesco.
However Jono Read, who ran an online campaign for a Tesco,said he did not believe that the store would harm the town centre.
“As long as Sheringham has that unique selling point, and markets the shops properly there is no reason why the two cannot co-exist,” he added.
It worked well at Fakenham and Aylsham.
An official ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 10am, including the presentation of cheques to two local groups.
The store, whose main entrance faces the town’s railway station, is on a site at Cromer Road, with a walkway link to the town centre.
The fire station and community centre which used to stand there have been relocated by Tesco as part of the planning permission.