Norwich Asda rejection criticised by Norfolk County Council leader
17:46 24 September 2012
A controversial decision to refuse permission for a new Asda in Norwich has been criticised by the leader of Norfolk County Council, who said a “wonderful opportunity” had been missed.
The supermarket giant had hoped to build a new store at the old Bally Shoe Factory site, near Tuckswood, along with a gym, pub, community centre, 334-space car park and other shops.
But, at a Norwich City Council planning meeting last week, the application was turned down by five votes to four.
Four Green councillors and one Liberal Democrat voted to refuse the Hall Road scheme, saying the 5,796 sq m superstore was too dominant for a district centre, the plans did not make best use of a brownfield site, protected trees would be removed, pedestrian access was not good enough and the car park was too dominant.
Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur blasted those councillors for costing the city up to 400 new jobs and, at a meeting of the Conservative-controlled county council today, County Hall leader Derrick Murphy said he shared Ms Arthur’s views.
He said: “I can understand the ire and anger of Brenda Arthur on this one, at a time when the economy is not at its best. It is a wonderful opportunity which has been missed.
“It is a pity the Asda scheme did not go ahead because one thing which people need at this time is jobs and we need to protect as many as possible.”
Stephen Little, Green county and city councillor for Town Close, was one of the planning committee members who voted to reject the scheme.
He said the proposal was completely against the city council’s own policies, which was why he had voted against it and pointed to research showing supermarkets actually cost jobs.
He also questioned whether Mr Murphy had read the planning report, which went before city councillors. Mr Murphy conceded he had not, but added he was “an avid fan of supermarkets”.
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