Wait goes on for store decision

An artist's impression of the new supermarket proposed for London Road in Thetford
An artist's impression of the new supermarket proposed for London Road in Thetford
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The wait to find out which supermarket Thetford will get is set to drag on after councillors deferred a decision.

Members of Breckland Council’s Planning Committee met on Monday to discuss two planning applications for stores - one in London Road and another near the A11 on Mundford Road.

They were advised to approve only one of the proposals as passing both would have a ‘significant adverse impact’ on Thetford town centre.

Nick Moys, principal planning officer, advised members to reject the Mundford Road plans, entered by the Crown Estate and Pigeon, and approve the London Road scheme entered by Location 3.

The council’s consultants Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP), said the London Road store, planned to be an Asda, would hit town centre trade by 18.6 per cent.

The Mundford Road store, earmarked for Morrisons, would hit trade by 17.1 per cent.

In an unusual move, members heard both applications at the same time.

Representations included an objection to the London Road store from Robert Beaumont on behalf of Lidl, who already have planning permission for a store on London Road.

He said Lidl would not go ahead with building its store if an Asda was to be built.

“We believe there is not space for three food stores on that side of town,” he said.

Objections were also made to the London Road store by John McPhillips from the Two Sisters Food Group, who had previously bid for the site which lies adjacent to its factory.

There were concerns raised over both applications in terms of loss of employment land.

After two hours of discussion, it took members another 20 minutes to come to a decision.

Having voted to refuse both proposals, some members said they had been confused by the voting process and the decision was scrapped before an agreement to defer was reached.