Tesco expansion gets yes vote

A mid-Norfolk market town is set to see its Tesco store almost double in size after the supermarket giant's expansion plans were given the thumbs up.Breckland Council's development control committee this week approved a scheme that will see the Tesco supermarket in Watton expand by 909 sq metres.

A mid-Norfolk market town is set to see its Tesco store almost double in size after the supermarket giant's expansion plans were given the thumbs up.

Breckland Council's development control committee this week approved a scheme that will see the Tesco supermarket in Watton expand by 909 sq metres.

The expansion plans will bring the Thetford Road shop to a total size of 2021 sq metres and see the number of parking spaces increase from 153 to 171.

Earlier in the year the expansion proposals were welcomed by Watton Chamber of Trade.


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In August chairman Richard Crabtree said: “It's going to be a good because it is going to be a half decent size shop. roughly twice the size we have got now. and it will stock a wider variety of things.

“We hope it will stop people going to Thetford and Dereham to shop.”

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He also encouraged Tesco to consider stocking clothes in the improved store because Watton lacked a shoe shop or menswear store.

Yesterday, during debate on the application, some committee members expressed surprise that neither Watton Town Council nor the town's chamber of trade had raised any objections about the impact Tesco's increase in size would have on other traders in the town.

Officers said the town council had raised concerns about delivery hours and footpath access and there had been other objections from local residents relating to increased noise and disturbance, opening hours, lighting, landscaping and security.

The committee also heard that a draft agreement would see Tesco giving £140,000 towards transport improvements in the town.

Terry Lamb said he had expected traders to band together and fight Tesco's plan.

He said: “I always applauded the good traders of Watton for holding out against the big boys but they do not seem to have complained this time.”

John Labouchere said he was concerned that the number of parking spaces was only being increased by 19 when the size of the store was being almost doubled.

Bill Borrett said he was concerned that due to the car park expansion a group of houses along Norwich Road would be “marooned on their own” and that the development would also the street scene.

He said: “It think there is an opportunity that has been missed to evolve the street scene on Norwich Road.”

The application was approved by 14 votes to two.

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