Speech to North Walsham Town Council 9th October 2012
North Walsham Chamber for Business (Chamber of Trade) have serious concerns with regards to the Scott Properties planning application. Firstly because of the size of the unit being proposed and secondly because of the nature of the goods it proposes to sell.
A small Waitrose supermarket is one thing but a supermarket three times the size is a completely different kettle of fish.
With the arrival of Waitrose in November, the Chamber also has concerns as to the amount of supermarkets in the town should this planning application be approved. We feel that there will be an excess supply for the number of customers.
The town centre has already seen a decline in the amount of shops trading. This has partially been the result of footfall becoming diminished in the town centre over the last few years.
We had become hopeful from working with Waitrose that footfall would improve due to the signage from the Waitrose store directing people to the town centre, help with free advertising for local traders/ businesses and the ethos of the company themselves, helpful and wanting a thriving town.
We also believe that Waitrose would bring in new customers from all over North Norfolk as there are no Waitrose stores around outlying towns and villages as there larger supermarkets.
We are concerned that if a supermarket three times the size of Waitrose is granted planning permission right next door and sells everything the town/traders sell then there will be no incentive for Waitrose customers to come into the town despite the signage the fear is that they will just go next door.
Should this fear be realised then the town would go into serious decline.
The Chamber have seen no cooperation or willingness on behalf of Scott Properties either to work together or to help traders in the town.
In summary, the Chamber members object vociferously on the grounds that it’s inappropriate for this town and in excess of requirements.