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Yet another Tesco opening in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 07:22 25 August 2011 | UPDATED: 15:36 25 August 2011

Tesco stores in Norwich, click to enlarge.

Tesco stores in Norwich, click to enlarge.

Archant

Yet another Tesco is coming to Norwich with the supermarket giant about to open its 18th store in the heart of the city.

The store will open on a site known as Dial House, which is a former bed store and was once a pub, known as The Dial, on the corner of Dereham Road and Old Palace Road.

Relevant planning permission is already in place, and Tesco just needs permission from the city council for a new shopfront and signage.

The increased ‘Tescoisation’ of Norwich has been a hot topic for discussion in recent years, as the firm’s stores have popped up all over the city.

There are fears such stores have a detrimental impact on other traders in the area, as they are able to push their prices so low and under-cut them.

Such is the scale of the issue nationwide that a Competition Commission inquiry was held in 2009 to see whether the firm has too much of a stronghold on the market. Tesco won the appeal, however.

The most high-profile case in Norwich concerned the new Tesco store which opened in Unthank Road in the city last year. Planning permission for that store was only given after Tesco launched an appeal.

Four applications had previously been turned down by members of the city council planning committee, following objections from people living in the area.

Claire Stephenson, leader of the Green group on Norwich City Council, has expressed concerns about the new store.

Speaking on behalf of the Nelson and Mancroft ward Green councillors, whose areas include Dereham Road, she said: “It will affect a lot of businesses and residents in both wards. I’m disappointed that Tesco wants to open yet another shop in Norwich, as they already have so many.

“I hope that the local shops won’t be affected by it. There are some very strong local businesses along Dereham Road, and I hope people will continue to use them rather than the new store.

“Any conditions imposed on planning permission should also be enforceable, as I understand that the conditions imposed regards parking at the Unthank Road Tesco store have not been enforceable.”

Businesses and people living near Dial House yesterday however did not seem that concerned by the plans.

Paul Metcalfe, who lives in Old Palace Road, said: “These Tesco stores are going up everywhere, but I’m not really bothered one way or the other. We are concerned about how it will affect traffic, though.”

However, Daphne Lovett, who also lives in Old Palace Road, warned it could affect trade at some of the shops in the area.

She said: “I use the Co-op foodstore in Dereham Road which is just a few minutes away. I’m a pensioner and don’t have a car so the new Tesco might be more convenient, as it’s closer, but everyone will have their own opinion on whether it’s a good or bad thing. I’m not that bothered.

“But local shops could be affected by it. It could also lead to more traffic. It’s already hard for me to cross Old Palace Road from where I live. It’s wait and see what effect it has, really.”

Richard Broad, owner of Upper Crust Bakery in Dereham Road, opposite the site, said he had been assured by his regulars that their custom would stay with him.

He said: “One Tesco store is not a problem, but it’s the sheer volume of stores in Norwich, and I have heard that another three are on the drawing board.

“I’m not worried about the possible effect on our regular customer trade, as they have all made it quite clear that we do something Tesco doesn’t, and will stay with us, but it could affect passing trade, in that people may choose to go to Tesco just because it’s the bigger brand.”

The Evening News revealed last year that Tesco was eyeing up Dial House as a possible site for a new store. The plans at that time provoked a mixed reaction from residents and shop owners, with some thinking Tesco was securing a monopoly in the city and threatening small businesses, and others believing that the store would bring more people to the area and boost trade for other shops.

The owner of the site - Yarmouth-based Fred Long and Sons Ltd - declined to comment on the matter.

Earlier this year a protest against a new Tesco store in Bristol turned ugly when riots broke out.

What do you think of the growth in Tesco stores around Norwich? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1 RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk.

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