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Welcome for Tesco expansion plan

PUBLISHED: 15:59 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:56 02 June 2010

A bid by Tesco to increase its stamp on Watton has been welcomed by business and council leaders.

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

A bid by Tesco to increase its stamp on Watton has been welcomed by business and council leaders.

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

But 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 'complimentary non-food items'.

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 car park is now and the extension will be if permission is granted.

Tesco says it has held a public exhibition and consultation on the expansion plans and that it had wide support from the community.

A supporting statement for the plans said the store was an important part of the town centre and that it met the daily needs of residents.

But that because it was not big enough people would do their main shopping in other nearby larger towns like Thetford and Dereham - which meant Watton's other shops also lost trade.

From a public exhibition held on the plans, 60 of 67 people responded to the scheme positively, the application said.

Richard Crabtree, chairman of the chamber of trade in the town, said there was support for the scheme and the only downside was that they had hoped a roundabout could be built to ease traffic congestion.

“It's going to be a 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.

“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.”

He also said they would encourage Tesco to having a clothing range at the store as the town didn't have either a shoe shop or menswear shop.

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