Planners back £4 million Lidl store plan for Heacham

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Multi-million pound plans for a new Lidl supermarket in Heacham have been backed by planners ahead of a key meeting next week.

Community leaders in the village say they remain concerned about the potential impact of the development on the local road network.

But a report published ahead of a West Norfolk Council planning committee on Monday has urged members to approve the proposals.

The discount retailer first set out its plans for a new £4.5 million store on the site of the former R J Stainsby garage, next to the A149, last summer.

The company claims the store is needed to help meet local service demand and will have minimal impact on local transport networks or the surrounding landscape.

And surveys have indicated a high level of public support for the project.

But the village’s parish council has objected to the proposal on transport and drainage concerns.

The authority says it will review its position if improvements are made to the nearby junction of the A149 with the B1454 and Lynn Road.

It has also called for the inclusion of box road markings on the A149 to improve access to and from the site, which it says the firm’s own engineers have also sought.

The parish council also wants assurances that the area’s internal drainage board are satisfied with the revised proposals and concerns over the appearance and landscaping of the site addressed.

A resident who objected to the scheme said: “The A149 is already incapable of dealing with the volume of traffic that now uses it.

“This is only going to get worse because of the number of residential developments being approved and proposed in the area.”

And the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England is also opposed to it, arguing that the application would damage rural businesses and the surrounding area of outstanding natural beauty.

But the report said the scheme had not attracted an “exceptional” number of comments either for or against it.

It pointed out that neither Norfolk County Council nor the IDB have objected to the scheme, while a retail impact assessment carried out on the borough council’s behalf said there would be no impact on existing enterprises.

It added: “There are no technical reasons for refusing the application.”