Caister Tesco plans on show

THE problem of an increase in traffic was the biggest concern raised by Caister residents attending an exhibition showing plans to double the size of the village’s Tesco.

A steady stream of over 150 people had already visited the exhibition in Caister Village Hall by mid-afternoon on its first day, Friday, and the display was set to continue the following day.

It was the second exhibition staged by Tesco to showcase plans for their new 50,000sq ft store and state-of-the-art �1m village hall to replace the existing Yarmouth Road store on an area of grassland.

The developer had made some changes to the plans to address concerns raised at the first exhibition about noise from delivery vehicles and drainage.

However, Barry Gates, 49, of Dover Court, Caister, who was visiting with wife Cindy, 48, feared the A149 Caister bypass would have more traffic jams because of the larger store, which would have parking spaces for 350 cars.

He said: “I am concerned about traffic. Not so much traffic coming through the village, but traffic trying to get into it.

“The villagers have noticed in the last 18 months that more traffic does comes out of the store and heads in the Yarmouth direction and along the bypass which causes significant build-up of traffic in the Yarmouth direction.”

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Ken Dyball, 63, of Cooper Close, Caister was concerned the Pump Lane bridleway running alongside the store was going to be tarred over to make way for the new entrance.

He added: “I was born 100 yards away from it and I used to spend a lot of time down there as a child, but I don’t like seeing things built over.”

Steve Laven, 55, of Clay Road, Caister said his concerns about traffic congestion in Yarmouth Road and on the A149 Caister bypass were not adequately addressed. But he also feared for the current businesses in Caister village centre.

He added: “I think it would be tragic if the High Street became boarded up. We have got a florists, newsagents and Co-op and it would be awful for them to be lost.”

However, Betsy Long, 63, of Links Close, Caister supported the plans. She said: “I think you will get a better choice of product because the store we have got now does not have as many lines as the new bigger store.”

The new Tesco, car park and village hall, to be called the Caister Centre, will be built to the right of a new access road at Pump Lane bridleway, which will be tarred over and a new roundabout added giving access to the store car park.

The existing access road will no longer exist, while the current store will be demolished to make way for the new building, which will be built further back and slightly to the right of the previous premises.

The aim of the redevelopment is to provide wider aisles, a better range of groceries and household items and 100 extra jobs in addition to the store’s existing 140 staff.

The village hall, to be called the Caister Centre, will be bigger and more modern than the current Yarmouth Road hall and boast a 200-seater room for public meetings and entertainment, and an outdoor multi-use games area.

A dedicated parish council office and facilities for more than 30 village clubs and organisations will also be provided, along with a 68-space car park.

Tesco hopes to submit a planning application for the new store to Yarmouth Borough Council in May, with the building being completed in 2013.

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