Parish council committee opposes Heacham Lidl plan

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Plans for a new Lidl supermarket on the edge of Heacham have been opposed by parish councillors, despite claims of strong public support for the scheme.

The parish council’s lighting and watching committee voted to lodge a holding objection at a meeting last night, citing transport and drainage concerns over the multi-million pound plan.

Although the decision may be reviewed if those issues are addressed, committee chairman Terry Parish insisted the council’s job was not simply to bow to public opinion.

He said: “It’s our duty to raise the issues that should be looked at, rather than just say, ‘Yeah, Lidl, cheap carrots.’”

The discount retailer first set out its proposals for a £4 million store on the site of the former R J Stainsby garage last August.

The meeting was told that more than 88 per cent of people who took part in a survey carried out during its exhibition supported the proposal.

And Tracey Swann said that, when she asked for people’s views on Facebook ahead of the meeting, 74 respondents backed the store plan with only three against.

But, despite that, much of the discussion centred on access, both from the A149 and within the village itself, and flood risk concerns.

So far, Norfolk County Council has yet to give a view on access to the site from the main Lynn to Hunstanton road, seen by many as a potential stumbling block to the proposal.

And concerns were raised that a possible access point from The Broadway was not intended for public use.

The meeting also heard that the King’s Lynn Internal Drainage Board had voiced its concerns about higher volumes of water running off the site and increasing the load on nearby drains and waterways.

A letter from the board to West Norfolk Council planners, which has been published by the borough council, said the chain had failed to demonstrate that its proposals would not increase flood risk. It also said the application failed to meet planning guidelines.

It added: “The Board considers this to be grounds for refusal of the application as it stands, or at least deferral until an appropriate scheme has been proposed.”

However, Alan Walker insisted the committee should reflect the views of the majority of residents.

He said: “There may be one or two issues that some people won’t like, but if the majority of people want it, then we should go for it.”

But Daniel Parton said: “We need to make sure it’s built properly.”