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Petition over Tesco extension plan

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:54 03 July 2010

A petition with around 1,000 signatures against an extension to the Stalham branch of Tesco has been put together in the past fortnight in one of the town's stores.

A petition with around 1,000 signatures against an extension to the Stalham branch of Tesco has been put together in the past fortnight in one of the town's stores.

The supermarket giant held a two day exhibition outlining their plans to more than double the size of the branch, including a rejigged entrance road into the town centre, on Friday and Saturday.

A Tesco spokesman said afterwards that more than 250 people came to the open days and the company also met with local retailers on Friday evening.

Meanwhile one of the leading campaigners against the expansion, Nigel Dowdney of the independent store Stalham Shopper, said he had already collected around 1,000 signatures on a petition against the impending planning application.

“They will need a change of use from employment land to retail and I think there is a good chance they won't get that, especially as it is listed in the local development framework as employment land - and that is a strong document,” said Mr Dowdney.

Mr Dowdney said claims of new jobs being brought to the town failed to take into account the jobs that would be lost if the expansion went ahead. He also said Tesco had claimed the expansion would have a beneficial effect on the community, but had provided no evidence to support this claim.

Tesco spokesman Nick Gellatly said the company was delighted with the high number of people attending the exhibition and the “very strong support from most local people”.

“Our customers understand the need to expand the range and choice here and improve product availability,” added Mr Gellatly.

“Many told us they currently travel to other supermarkets elsewhere to complete their weekly shop.”

The meeting with retailers was also helpful, he added, and it had raised specific issues about the existing operation and how the extension plans might help get more people onto the High Street.

This included better signage to other shops and the treatment of land Tesco had recently bought between the store entrance and the adjacent High Street.

“We have agreed to look at these issues in more detail before we submit the planning application,” said Mr Gellatly.

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