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Green light paves way for new Iceland and Home Bargains stores in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 16:09 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:12 16 July 2019

Iceland and Home Bargains are looking to join Homebase in Hall Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Iceland and Home Bargains are looking to join Homebase in Hall Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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The way has been cleared for new Iceland and Home Bargains stores to come to Norwich, after officers at City Hall backed changes to an existing building.

Norwich City Council had previously given the go-ahead to vary permission for what could be sold at the Homebase store in Hall Road, amid a move to split it into four units.

Applicant Shroders Real Estate Fund had said Homebase no longer needed such a large store, so that store would be reduced in size to a smaller unit of 2,789 square metres with 697 square metres of garden centre.

They said Home Bargains and Iceland were keen to take on two of the subdivided units created as a result of the change.

The Iceland store would be an Iceland Food Warehouse, which the applicants said would differ from traditional Iceland stores, such as in Anglia Square. There is already one in Great Yarmouth.

They said, while frozen food is still the 'primary function', they have more space, with extended product ranges, bigger packs and 'premium quality lines'.

The Iceland Food Warehouse would be about 1,300 square metres and the Home Bargains store 1,864 square metres.

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The city council had given the go-ahead for the sale of food and drink, toys and games, health and beauty products, medicines, clothing, baby products, household products and home furnishings in the building.

But last week saw another amendment agreed. The applicant had asked for permission for the Iceland Food Warehouse store to have a new mezzanine for a store office, staff room, cloakroom and staff toilets.

And officers at City Hall used delegated powers to grant permission for that 104 square metre mezzanine floor.

In giving the go-ahead, council officers said the applicants had carried out what is known as a sequential test to look at providing the stores in alternative locations.

Council officers said no appropriate alternatives had been found and officers stated: "The proposed development would not have a significantly harmful impact on existing centres."

They added: "The proposed additional floorspace is not considered to be so significant as to attract any greater volume of visits by private car than the existing approved use, nor would there be any additional amenity impacts."

A spokesman for Iceland said: "We are naturally pleased that our prospective landlord has been granted planning permission for the subdivision of the former Homebase store in Norwich, paving the way for us to open one of our larger The Food Warehouse stores on the site.

"This has been agreed in principle but currently remains subject to contract. If all goes to plan we would expect to open the store in summer 2020, creating approximately 25 new jobs.

"The Food Warehouse chain, which started with a single store in September 2014, recently opened its 100th store in Blackpool and we expect to open a total of 34 new stores across the UK in our current financial year to March 2020, continuing to open stores at the rate of approximately 30 per annum thereafter."

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