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Nearly four in five voters in a Norwich Evening News poll said that councillors got it wrong in one of the city’s biggest planning decisions for years.

Almost 1,000 readers had their say in just four days, with 79pc saying that proposals for a £122m Asda superstore development should have been given the go-ahead.

Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur said the vote demonstrated public anger at the passing up of a “one-off opportunity” to regenerate the area, while planning committee members again defended the decision as being in the best long-term interests of Norwich.

The plans would have seen an Asda supermarket built on the former Bally Shoe factory on Hall Road, along with other shops, community facilities, a gym, a pub and a 334-space car park.

The issue has been debated all week on the Norwich Evening News website, www.eveningnews24.co.uk, and on the letters page with commenters arguing both sides of the case.

Many have been frustrated at the apparent snubbing of employment opportunities and a chance to redevelop an area which has long laid derelict, with others praising the committee’s stance in the face of plans which went against the council’s planning guidelines.

Stephen Little, the Green city councillor who proposed the motion to reject the plans, said the committee had looked at the long-term impact of the development on the city, and conceded: “Sometimes you have to make difficult choices and they are not always the popular ones.”

He said: “It’s a choice between the politics of the short-term and the politics of the long-term.

“The buildings are going to be there for a long time so you have to think of the long term. That’s not always a popular choice.”

Discussion over the store had been “framed” by the debatable prospect of 400 new jobs in the city, clouding the fact the plans were “wildly off-brief” and could have opened the door for other developers to ignore planning guidelines, he added.

“It undermines the planning policy. If we were to stop others in the future offering a similar development they could then appeal and say ‘Asda have done it here, why can’t we?’ By doing that, you are creating a precedent.”

He said the plans had been “sprawling and car-based”, adding: “As we move to the future this is not the kind of city we can have.”

Ms Arthur said the vote results sent a clear message. She said: “This demonstrates the people think this was a one-off opportunity to help regenerate a part of the city that needs a boost.

“I’m sure there are people in that area of the city who want a better life for themselves and their families and this would have helped them.”

She said that accepting a larger-than-usual store against planning guidelines was justified because the economic considerations “outweighed” the planning concerns.

Ms Arthur added: “I don’t imagine we would want to replicate it across the city. The local community doesn’t have a huge number of shops, but it does have a huge need.

“I’ve had phone calls from parents saying it would be so much easier to shop there, and from young people who really want a job – and that’s in addition to all the extra community facilities.”

The plans were rejected by five votes to four on September 20, with all four present Labour members voting in their favour. Two Labour councillors were unable to attend through work commitments and illness, with no substitute available at short notice.

YOUR SAY

Was the city council’s planning committee right to turn down the plans for a new Asda superstore?

Yes 20.6pc (187)

No 79.4pc (721)

14 comments

  • "Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur said the vote demonstrated public anger..." Actually Brenda Arthur, if your labour councillors had bothered to turn up to the planning meeting, it would have been passed. I suggest you stop blaming others for your own shortcomings and explain to the "Angry public" why you didn't make sure they were there - Sorry - however you dress it up, your political party caused this application to be turned down - Do not try to wriggle out of this one! Oh and just one other thing, when ASDA appeal against the decision, how much extra will it cost the taxpayers? I would like an answer in the newspaper or this forum please.

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    IT Man

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • Mr Little sums up the Green attitude to all planning in Norwich, whether roads or employment, when he says the plans had been “sprawling and car-based”, adding: “As we move to the future this is not the kind of city we can have.” They won't be happy unless everyone is forced to walk everywhere and all cars and lorries have been banned from the Greater Norwich area. Sorry, but we no longer live in 1912 - the world has moved on and there are different requirements now than your idyllic vision of the past.

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

  • I am intrigued how the EDPEN chose to attack the council in this way. There was never such a headline with the poll for the incineratorNDR etc that showed a majority against the councils decision?

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    Marigold

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • Maybe a survey before the decision would have helped the planning committee get it right. We need jobs , competition for Tesco too, and it would make use of this derelict site. Maybe the EDP EEN should consider a Pre survey in future.

    Report this comment

    Euro

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • Maybe a survey before the decision would have helped the planning committee get it right. We need jobs , competition for Tesco too, and it would make use of this derelict site. Maybe the EDP EEN should consider a Pre survey in future.

    Report this comment

    Euro

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • I believe it was the right decision. If you let the big money walk all over you then you are a pussy. The USA uses its power around the world in the same way as Walmart Asda does - bullying its way and ignoring local decisions. Let them come back to the table with a more reasonable plan. This is what is called negotiating. If you fall over at the first offer they will see you as weak and walk all over you. So grow a backbone and stand firm for the best deal.

    Report this comment

    oldowl

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • Precisely readers dont make planning decisions,however lots of people take notice of the majority rather than the minority,and as you can see from the poll,most normal working class people would love to have another Asda built here,lets hope it happens,lets not give up!

    Report this comment

    foxey

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • I am totally appalled by The Greens decision to deny local people, jobs, decent facilities, competition and choice. Rejecting an Asda store in Norwich will have absolutely no effect on the planet but it certainly will affect local people. As for Labour, shambolic organisation in not making sure they had cover for the sick councillors. We have been let down by both parties.

    Report this comment

    Abraham

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • The green party are full of nutcases, that will always put the planet,bugs and cuddly polar bears first, before any working class peeps.The former leader of the green party, David Icke, is wonderful example of how barmy the green party is at all levels

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

  • Planning guidelines are there for a reason, they should not be ignored. The proposal for new store was not rejected, just the proposal for such a big store with inadequote parking and transport links. I do wish some readers would stop buying into the sensational headlines.

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    Crazy

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

  • Precisely why your readers don't make planning decisions - quite right too.

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • Things can only get better! You voted for this lot Remember Greyhound Opening,War Memorial,Unitary Status Come on own up now

    Report this comment

    PaulH

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • hark the holy attitude of last poster. asda should have been built--the area is suitable for it.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • Maybe a survey before the decision would have helped the planning committee get it right. We need jobs , competition for Tesco too, and it would make use of this derelict site. Maybe the EDP EEN should consider a Pre survey in future.

    Report this comment

    Euro

    Monday, October 1, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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