Tesco on course to open new Norwich store at former pub site

Superstore giant Tesco is on course to get the green light for opening a new store on the edge of Norwich.

The firm wants to open one of its Tesco Express stores on the former Firs pub in Cromer Road, Hellesdon, close to the airport- the 16th business it would operate in and around the city.

The pub closed last September after more than 70 years of trading, however the building already has planning permission to open as a supermarket, but the firm is seeking permission to install a cashpoint machine, while a new steel security door will also be installed.

Members of the Broadland District Council's planning committee will consider the application at a meeting on Wednesday together with an application for plant equipment to be installed to the back of the former pub, including three floor mounted air conditioning units, and one condenser unit.

Tesco is keen to open a store at the site, which the firm says will also create 20 new jobs, and council officers are recommending the applications should be approved, but the council has received objections from Hellesdon Parish Council and CPRE Norfolk.

And Peter Balcombe, Hellesdon South-East councillor said he feared the new store could cause increased traffic and urged the firm to pay for a new pedestrian crossing spanning the busy A140.

'Some of the residents have raised concerns about the impact on other shops, but that's not a planninng matter,' Mr Balcombe said. 'My main concern is the crossing. There are lots of people locally who would like to have a cash machine there, that I am certain of, but I would like a pedestrian crossing to take you across the A140. I know there is one just behind the Mazda garage but human beings being what they are, aren't going to walk across and come back, they are going to cut across.

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'You look at the amount of traffic that uses the A140 at that point, and most of the population of Hellesdon live opposite, and we have got children crossing because of Firside School just around the corner - we have got a number of potential accidents waiting to happen.

'Tesco is a wealthy organisation and I think they can afford to provide for the safety of the people who are going to use their shop.'

A report by officers noted that although there had been three objections against Tesco opening a store in the area, the only issue which could be considered was whether the plan fits in with existing policies.

The store was likely to be open from 6am to 11pm and officers concluded it would not have a detrimental affect on the area. But they have stated that any new brickwork carried out when the cash point is installed must match 'exactly in colour, size and texture those of the existing building', otherwise the firm will need to get written approval from the council beforehand.

The meeting will take place at 9.30am in the council chamber at Thorpe Lodge, Yarmouth Road.

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