At the Town Council meeting on the 22nd November, the Council agreed unanimously to strongly object to planning application 20171974 –
Demolition of garage / deopt & erection of convenience store (A1 use) with associated parking & first floor staff and storage areas at Reepham Motors, 31 School Road, Reepham, NR10 4JP
The Council submitted the following response to Broadland District Council;
‘Reepham Town Council strongly object to this planning application.
The Council wish to draw attention to the Joint Core Strategy, Policy 14 – Key Service Centres which states that; ‘Established retail and service areas will be protected and enhanced where appropriate’.
This application cannot in anyway be considered as an enhancement to existing retail as without doubt it would destroy the already struggling Wednesday market and impact heavily on existing, well established businesses in the Town. The Reepham economic strategy report compiled by consultants Ingham Pinnock in September 2013 (supported by Broadland District Council) reports that :
‘Reepham has a good range of local retail businesses concentrated in and around the town centre. A number of these have been in Reepham for generations and are an important part of the character and economic base of the town. When asked, the local community have frequently commented that they value these retailers and that they add significantly to the attractiveness of the town. However, common to many town centre or high streets, a number of the traditional retailers in Reepham are struggling to survive and the situation has become increasingly fragile in recent years. The fragility of the retail sector in Reepham was demonstrated in 2012 when the only bank in the town was closed for a number of months following a robbery. With the loss of this one activity, retailers reported a significant drop in footfall and trade as fewer people came into the town centre to bank and undertake other linked activities. The impact of the temporary loss of this one part of the retail mix in Reepham demonstrates how vulnerable the sector is.’
Since this report was written, the HSBC bank has closed so the economic situation in Reepham remains fragile and is therefore in need of protection.
The existing Spar convenience store is open from 7am to 10pm and already caters for residents when other businesses are closed.
In addition, there are Highway concerns. More chaos would be added to the existing issues with traffic on Townsend Corner and parking in Reepham in general. It is difficult to see how any delivery vehicles (articulated lorries) will be able to service the store without encountering and adding to the traffic issues, particularly if deliveries are made at school start / end times.
School Road/Whitwell Road is unsuitable for large vehicles and any such vehicles servicing the proposed store would have to approach and leave via the crossroads at Townsend Corner. This would entail vehicles making a “U” turn after loading/unloading and there is no place anywhere along School Road where this could be safely achieved.”
There is concern that this application will mean increased noise and light pollution, especially to the detriment of those residents living in close proximity to the site. Concern has been expressed about the direct impact this application will have on neighbouring properties.
The site has already been approved for residential development which it is acknowledged Reepham has need of and to which the Town Council had no comment or objection to.’