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Tesco set for another Norwich store

PUBLISHED: 16:31 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:50 01 July 2010

Norwich could get a new Tesco store

Norwich could get a new Tesco store

Sam Emanuel

The increased Tescoisation of Norwich is continuing as the store considers opening up a Tesco Express on the site of a former city pub.

The increased 'Tescoisation' of Norwich is continuing as the supermarket giant confirmed its interest in opening a Tesco Express store on the site of a former city pub.

Tesco has said it is eyeing up the former Grants bed store on the corner of Dereham Road and Old Palace Road and is considering buying a lease and opening a store on the site.

If it goes ahead, the store will be the 15th in Norwich - there are 13 existing stores and another is currently being built on Unthank Road. The plans have provoked a mixed reaction from residents and shop owners, with some thinking Tesco is securing a monopoly in the city and threatening small businesses, and others believing that the store will bring more people to the area and boost trade for other shops.

The owner of the Grants bed store site - Yarmouth-based Fred Long and Sons Ltd - declined to comment on the matter, and Carol Leslie, a spokeswoman for Tesco, said she was unable to speak in detail about the plans at this stage but could confirm Tesco was “interested in taking a lease at the former bed shop at Dial House, Dereham Road, Norwich.”

Although no planning applications have been submitted for the Dial House site, Norwich City Council confirmed that Tesco does not need to apply for permission to operate from the site.

Amy Lyall, spokeswoman for Norwich City Council, said: “The premises are a Class A1 retail outlet and have been for some years, meaning Tesco or any other supermarket can open a store without the need for planning permission as the relevant permissions for a store on that site are already in place. If they were to need new signage or want a new shop front, planning permission would be required for these, but then we could only consider that issue and not the issue of the store as a whole.”

She added that planning permission would be needed to demolish the existing building and that the council does not have any related applications at the moment.

Stuart Goodman, 62, a retired photographer who lives on nearby St Phillips Road, said: “I'm very angry we haven't been told about this - I think we should have the right to know about something that could potentially damage local businesses. I don't think they should be allowed to have this sort of monopoly.”

Adrian Holmes, Greencouncillor for the Mancroft ward, said: “I don't support it - it's going to be in direct competition with the Co-op and cause traffic problems at that junction, and it's not needed. I think it's just Tesco being aggressive again.

“There is no real way we can stop them - we can appeal to their better nature but I don't think that will work.”

The increased 'Tescoisation' of Norwich is continuing as the supermarket giant confirmed its interest in opening a Tesco Express store on the site of a former city pub.

Tesco has said it is eyeing up the former Grants bed store on the corner of Dereham Road and Old Palace Road and is considering buying a lease and opening a store on the site.

If it goes ahead, the store will be the 15th in Norwich - there are 13 existing stores and another is currently being built on Unthank Road. The plans have provoked a mixed reaction from residents and shop owners, with some thinking Tesco is securing a monopoly in the city and threatening small businesses, and others believing that the store will bring more people to the area and boost trade for other shops.

The owner of the Grants bed store site - Yarmouth-based Fred Long and Sons Ltd - declined to comment on the matter, and Carol Leslie, a spokeswoman for Tesco, said she was unable to speak in detail about the plans at this stage but could confirm Tesco was “interested in taking a lease at the former bed shop at Dial House, Dereham Road, Norwich.”

Although no planning applications have been submitted for the Dial House site, Norwich City Council confirmed that Tesco does not need to apply for permission to operate from the site.

Amy Lyall, spokeswoman for Norwich City Council, said: “The premises are a Class A1 retail outlet and have been for some years, meaning Tesco or any other supermarket can open a store without the need for planning permission as the relevant permissions for a store on that site are already in place. If they were to need new signage or want a new shop front, planning permission would be required for these, but then we could only consider that issue and not the issue of the store as a whole.”

She added that planning permission would be needed to demolish the existing building and that the council does not have any related applications at the moment.

Stuart Goodman, 62, a retired photographer who lives on nearby St Phillips Road, said: “I'm very angry we haven't been told about this - I think we should have the right to know about something that could potentially damage local businesses. I don't think they should be allowed to have this sort of monopoly.”

Andria Holmes councillor for the Mancroft ward, said: “I don't support it - it's going to be in direct competition with the Co-op and cause traffic problems at that junction, and it's not needed. I think it's just Tesco being aggressive again.

“There is no real way we can stop them - we can appeal to their better nature but I don't think that will work.”

Nigel Dowdney, who runs the West Earlham Shopper and another convenience store in Stalham and champions the cause of small traders, was also against the plans, and said: “It's absolutely ridiculous. Do they really need to take over the whole of the city?”

And Richard Broad, owner of The Upper Crust Bakery on Dereham Road, added that although he hoped his customers would remain loyal and did not feel that a new Tesco would threaten his business, he disagreed with the store opening in principle because the city had too many Tesco stores already.

But staff from other shops opposite the site, including Ellie Marie Florist and The Ideal Plaice fish and chip shop, were in support of the proposals and said that they hoped a new Tesco store would bring more people to the area and boost their trade.

Numerous Tesco stores which have popped up across the county in recent years have received hostile reactions from local businesses and people living nearby.

Planning permission for the Unthank Road store, which is currently being built, was refused four times by city councillors, but permission was finally granted after a planning inspector ruled in its favour and approved the plans.

Tesco's long-running bid to build a store on the Cromer Road in Sheringham was recently turned down by the planning committee, who favoured a rival Waitrose supermarket on the Weybourne Road.

Confirmation of that controversial vote - taken against officers' recommendations to approve Tesco, and refuse Waitrose because it was further away from the town centre and could cause more damage to existing traders - is still being awaited while officers seek further advice on the robustness of the decision.

Nationally, Tesco has made no secret of its plans for massive expansion, and announced plans in 2009 to increase its floorspace by 2 million sq ft by April this year.

The store won an appeal last year against a new competition test that would have made it harder for the supermarket chain to open new stores or expand existing premises.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) ruled that a competition test drawn by the regulator, the Competition Commission, risked harming consumers because of unforeseen consequences. It would mean that permission for a new supermarket would be subject to a retailer's existing market share in the area - based on data provided by the Office of Fair Trading.

Tesco asked for a judicial review of the proposal, arguing that the new test was unnecessary and that it would harm customers rather than help them, and won.

What do you think of Tesco's plans? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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