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Asda extension bid

PUBLISHED: 10:01 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 July 2010

ASDA'S bid to boost its battle for an extension to its Great Yarmouth store has failed to move planners who are standing firm against the scheme.

Concern for town centre shops remains at the heart of objections despite Asda's offer of a "planning gain package" totalling £50,000 aimed at improving pedestrian links and Vauxhall Bridge.

ASDA'S bid to boost its battle for an extension to its Great Yarmouth store has failed to move planners who are standing firm against the scheme.

Concern for town centre shops remains at the heart of objections despite Asda's offer of a “planning gain package” totalling £50,000 aimed at improving pedestrian links and Vauxhall Bridge.

Town centre manager Jonathon Newman said Asda's second attempt to increase its George range and other non-food items was identical to one refused last year, and should be resisted for the same reasons.

He said: “Their argument that Yarmouth is doing quite nicely thank you was based on the fact that the town's vacant retail property space by percentage was below the nation average, but they did not point out that the number of vacant units is above average as is the number of charity shops.

“They cannot tell me that selling a larger range of clothing in a supermarket does not have an affect on the sales of clothing in the town centre. The town centre is not anywhere near a position were it is out of danger. The Asda extension would not be the last nail in the coffin but it would be a blow.”

Mr Newman said the application failed the Government's sequential test which required companies to look first at town centres, then at edge of town sites and lastly at out of town sites. And he questioned why Asda was not looking to put a George shop in town which would increase choice rather than take it away.

A report to development control committee members who meet on Tuesday to discuss the issue says the extension of the Acle New Road store by one fifth would undermine the vitality of the town centre and inevitably lead to a reduction in local choice. Officers are urging members to again refuse the Asda scheme.

1st East, the urban regeneration company for Yarmouth and Lowestoft, objects as does Somerfield in Gorleston.

The plan means losing 29 parking spaces at the store which was first granted planning permission on appeal by the secretary of state in 1987.

It is part of a general scheme to modernise the store but senior planner Dean Minns said the extension idea went against planning policy which only supported out-of-centre developments in exceptional circumstances.

The £50,000 planning gain package is comprised, £10,000 each for pedestrian cycle improvements, a Vauxhall bridge upgrade and environmental improvements, and £20,000 to relocate the bus stop and add a shelter and lay-by.

Asda is also applying for a home-shopping pod at Acle New Road to ease the distribution of goods to on-line shoppers.

The committee meets at 6pm in the council chamber.

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