Supermarkets to go head-to-head in planning discussion
Proposals for two new supermarkets in Thetford will go before planning officials next week, with one recommended for approval and one for refusal.
The first, by property company Location 3 for the former Tulip site on Caxton Way, could be given the go-ahead on the grounds that it is more accessible than the other and that any loss of employment land could be mitigated elsewhere in the town.
The second, by the Crown Estate and Pigeon, was recommended for refusal amid fears that it would lead to loss of land on a site intended for the Thetford Enterprise Park on Mundford Road.
A report by officers to go before Breckland Council planning officials on Monday said it must also be remembered that permission had already been granted to a Lidl store on London Road.
It added: “In retail terms, it is evident that only one further food store can be accommodated outside of the town centre. “On this basis it is necessary to consider the merits of each against the other.
“This [Caxton Way] proposal is considered to be sequentially preferable (more accessible with better links to the town centre) to the alternative while the second, proposed for the Thetford Enterprise Park on Mundford Road, is recommended for refusal on the grounds that it would result in a loss of employment land.”
Both applicants have said they are in talks with the “big four” supermarkets, with Location 3 adding that up to 250 jobs could be created.
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The plans also include a petrol station to the south-east of the site, 313 car parking spaces, including 18 disabled, 18 parent and child spaces and 13 for employees, and 76 bicycle spaces.
The Mundford Road application could create 300 jobs and would involve a new junction to Mundford Road/Wyatt Way, paths and cycle ways, a connection to 5,000 new homes proposed to the north of the town, and bus links to the town centre.
It could also be the first step in creating the Thetford Enterprise Park on land between the A11 and Mundford Road.
Some objections were received by other parties in relation to both sites, however.
Thetford Town Council’s planning committee objected to both proposals, with concerns that industrial land would be lost to retail in both instances.
Concerns were also raised by the tree and countryside consultant that trees would be lost by new access on London Road if the Caxton Way site was given approval, and the Thetford Society added that it objected due to what it called a loss of industrial land, proximity to and negative impact on similar outlets, its location on the other side of town from the Sustainable Urban Extension and because of traffic concerns.
The Environment Agency added that it objected to the Mundford Road application due to an “inadequate” flood risk assessment.