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Watton store bids to expand

PUBLISHED: 09:39 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:56 02 June 2010

Elaine Maslin

A bid by Tesco to increase its stamp on a Norfolk town has been welcomed by business and council leaders who say it will keep trade in the town.

A bid by Tesco to increase its stamp on a Norfolk town has been welcomed by business and council leaders who say it will keep trade in the town.

Watton's Memorial Way store has been in the town since 1997 when Tesco took over from the Co-operative which built a store there in 1994.

Now Tesco wants to increase the floorspace by about 63pc, from 1,129sqm to 1,786sqm, and increase its car parking spaces by 20 on the 1.28ha site, according to a planning application.

It will enable a greater range of products, including “complementary non-food items”, the firm says.

Buildings to the north-east of the site are to be demolished to make way for the car park, which will be relocated from the front of the building where the extension will be if permission is granted.

Tesco said in a supporting statement that because the store was not big enough people would do their main shopping in nearby larger towns like Thetford and Dereham - which meant Watton's other shops also lost trade.

Richard Crabtree, chairman of the chamber of trade in the town, agreed.

“It's going to be good because it is going to be a half-decent size shop, roughly twice the size we have got now, and it will stock a wider variety of things,” he said.

“We hope it will stop people going to Thetford and Dereham to shop. With the present fuel crisis and food prices increasing we hope people will find this cheaper.”

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