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‘Small convenience store’ will nearly double town’s retail area

Monday, March 19, 2018 - 20:50

The latest planning application for a Co-op supermarket has failed to address the key concerns raised by the previous application, and furthermore has been exceedingly misleading in its attempts to do so.

The applicant criticises the Spar store for not stocking fresh meat, vegetables and hot drinks, but does not mention that these are provided by independent businesses in the town or that this is a deliberate policy of Spar management so that local businesses are not damaged.

Further, this “small convenience store” will nearly double the retail area in the town, and yet the Co-op claims that somehow Reepham’s existing independent shops would “remain vital and viable”.

You might think it worthwhile asking the independents whether they agree with this analysis, because it is clear that the applicant has not done so.

Michael Pender-Cudlip, Mill Road, Reepham

No benefit from another supermarket

Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 20:27

Phillip Leeder (Letters, 20 December 2017) appears to believe that a “small minority” of people in Reepham objected to the proposed convenience store on School Road.

However, from Les Patterson’s letter (8 January 2018) this does not appear to be the case.

The Town Council meeting that discussed the planning application was well attended by residents as well as business people.

Does Mr Leeder really believe that there is space in this small town for another small supermarket?

He may think that Spar’s prices are high, but does he consider the “convenience” of having this store so nearby?

The recent “Beast from the East” cold spell has certainly reinforced how well used and valuable this shop is, in addition to Robertson’s butchers, Diane’s Pantry, Meloncaulie Rose, Johnson’s, the Library, the Bircham Centre and Reepham Home Hardware, not to mention Motts Pharmacy.

Would any of these businesses survive if we had a Tesco’s, however small it might be?

The prices might be competitive to begin with – until all other shops had closed for lack of business. We might then see how high those prices might go.

Fortunately, we are not going to see this happen in the immediate future.

We have a small, exclusive and individual town centre with open shops, whose owners know their customers and give personal, friendly service.

Reepham might be growing (whether we like or not), but those new residents will be less likely to use the local amenities.

Many will work outside the town and shop in the larger supermarkets, where they can do their week’s or month’s shop in one, convenient trip. More houses will not mean we need more “convenience” stores.

I like Reepham because of its individuality, personal service and community spirit. I would like it to stay that way, but I know it will inevitably grow.

However, I don’t think that another small supermarket would do anything to benefit the town; it would more likely kill the local, individual businesses, and Reepham would lose its character, community feel and the heart it, at present, possesses.

I’m glad the planning application has been withdrawn. The site was originally designated for housing, in keeping with the existing properties.

We are constantly being told that we need more houses, so small plots of infill would help to provide some of those needs.

They might also prevent the need for a large development of 100 houses or more, which would certainly make a significant difference to the town.

Brenda R Palmer, Chapel Close, Reepham

Local girls can join Elmham Guides

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 17:53

We heard that the Guides group in Reepham have closed down and thought some girls might like to come to Elmham Guides.

A number of our Guides have written about what they have been up to and what they enjoy:

“Guides is really fun and you make lots of new friends. We achieve cool badges and Go For It’s, which are basically challenges and you then earn badges.

“Where we meet we have a park and during the summer we play there and have lots of fun. We love having cookouts and eating marshmallows over campfires.

“Every year we go on a camp and this year it is Norjam, which is a large Jamboree full of Guides and Scouts, some from the UK and some from other countries: Egypt, Canada, Ireland... The list goes on.

“We went rock climbing before the Christmas break. We have lots of fun and learn important skills.

“We did our first aid training at Chapelfield in Norwich; we also did fire training and map tracking. We stayed the night there with lots of other Guide groups so we got to meet new people.

“Every week we have fun games, learn new skills and do challenges to earn badges. Elmham Guides is amazing!”

To find out more or if you would like to join or to become a helper, contact Marion on 01362 696221 or check out the Girlguiding website.

Marion Morgan, Elmham Guides

Lack of morality demonstrated by county council vote on allowances

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 19:17

It is refreshing to read that our local county councillor has decided to forego the 10.5% increase in councillors’ allowances recently voted by the majority of those Norfolk County Councillors who did not absent themselves from this vote.

At a time when council tax is likely to rise by around 5% or more, it seems that those councillors who voted for their 10.5% increase, or left it to colleagues to do so, demonstrated a lack of leadership and morality, and political naivety to the extent that one wonders whether they are in touch with popular feeling.

While I agree that councillors should be adequately recompensed for the work they do, now is not a good time for an increase (as the councillors were formally advised), and the argument that Norfolk allowances are well behind those in other counties does not entirely wash.

Other counties should look at the comparison with, and example previously set by, Norfolk and restrain their allowances – they do not always have to increase in hardened times.

The money raised through council tax for Norfolk County Council is around £350 million a year and the 10.5% increase in allowances totals £142,000, which equates to an increase of 0.04%.

I am minded to withhold that percentage of my annual council tax payments – in my case that would be approximately 70p.

If everyone did that, the council could recover the shortfall by all councillors following our local councillor’s example.

Certainly, as the position stands, the incomes of elected county councillors will increase by a lot more than the rise in their personal council tax bills, whereas the incomes of most of their electors are unlikely to increase to meet the hike in their bills.

One law for the elected, another for the electors.

Perhaps the answer is to stand for election as a county councillor – although not in Reepham.

Rupert Birtles, Pettywell, Reepham

Planning application at 31 School Road

Monday, January 8, 2018 - 18:07

Re the recent letter concerning the planning application for building a convenience store at 31 School Road, Reepham (“Local business community should not dictate to silent majority”, Your Letters, 20 December 2017).

Planning matters are the responsibility of Broadland District Council and the final decision on this, and all other planning applications, will be made by the District Council.

As part of the planning process, comments on every application are invited from members of the public and from bodies such as town and parish councils.

At the recent Town Council meeting various members of the public made their views known and these views were taken into account when councillors considered the application.

After consideration, councillors unanimously agreed to object to the application because of concerns regarding parking and access for large vehicles at this particular location and because of the potentially deleterious effect the development would have on existing retailers in the town centre.

No doubt Broadland District Council would take these views, and those of others who have made comments on this application, into account when making its decision, but in this particular instance the applicant has since withdrawn the planning application.

I would like to remind all residents that Town Council meetings are open to all members of the public where everybody is entitled, and cordially invited, to make representations to the Council on any topic that is of concern to them individually or to the community as a whole.

I would also like to remind everybody that we still have vacancies for councillors, so if anybody wishes to take a more active role in shaping the future of our town by becoming a councillor, please do not hesitate to contact any councillor or the town clerk who will be happy to help you.

Les Paterson, Chairman, Reepham Town Council

Local business community should not dictate to silent majority

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 09:06

I have read with utter amusement the reports of the last Town Council meeting during which the proposed new store on School Road was rejected by the council following a debate.

From reading between the lines (unfortunately I was not able to attend), the local business community were against the proposal for one reason only – their concerns for their own profits.

I have lived under the impression that we live in a free-market society, where you can set up a business to sell what you want so long as it is lawful. I served in the navy to uphold this very principle.

So how is it that the local business community (which I happen to belong to as a self-employed consultant) can now dictate what facilities we have in this beautiful town of ours?

No one objected when champagne glasses were offered for sale.

What thought has been given to the people in Reepham that cannot easily travel to the larger supermarkets to buy their groceries or any of the other articles that may be offered for sale?

The Spar shop provides a service to the community, but it is overpriced and does not stock a range of goods worthy of such an organisation.

Comments have been made regarding the traffic chaos that would ensue should a shop be located on School Road. But has no one noticed the chaos that occurs when an articulated lorry delivers goods to the Spar?

(I made comment a few months ago regarding the unsightly stack of waste that is allowed to accumulate on the pavement outside this shop as there is no other suitable location for it.)

I challenge the Town Council to hold a referendum for the people that actually live in Reepham so that the silent majority can have the freedom to choose where they shop.

Let us be fair on this important issue; let us get a true feel for the wishes of the town and not be persuaded by the short-sighted, profit-driven lobby that the minority have put forward.

This town is expanding against my wishes, but that is progress. (With a smaller population there were once four food shops in Reepham.)

We therefore have to cater for the demographic mix that we enjoy and not be blinkered by the few.

Phillip Leeder, Cawston Road, Reepham

Thank you for such a caring community

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 10:06

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the love and support my family and I have received from all of our friends in and around Reepham after the sad death of my husband Clive on 13 October 2017; it has meant a great deal to us all.

Clive loved the great community that makes Reepham so special and he had no wish to live anywhere else.

To see so many of you at his funeral was incredible and discovering how greatly he was respected and how well he was liked has been a huge comfort to us.

The donations given at the funeral amounted to an amazing £1,300, which will be divided between Cancer Research UK, the Dilham Ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and other charities that were significant to Clive during his life.

Although this has been a very sad time for me, I count myself extremely fortunate to be living in such a caring community.

Thank you all.

Margaret Brooks, Mill Road, Reepham

Axing of PCSOs will lead to more crime and anti-social behaviour

Monday, December 4, 2017 - 18:15

It is sad to hear that our PCSO, Stephen Bridges, is going to be made redundant at the end of March 2018, after being a regular, reassuring and welcome face in Reepham.

It is short-sighted of Norfolk Constabulary to dismiss all local PCSOs in this way.

Stephen has been in post for more than 10 years. He knows many local people and is well known by many.

His presence helps to make people aware that there is a police presence and any potential wrong-doers are probably well known to him

 Once he has gone, I cannot see that the newly appointed police officer will be able to cover the same ground in the same, informed way as Stephen.

He will be thinly spread over the local area and, however willing and dedicated he may be, it will take a long time for him to be as aware and knowledgeable as Stephen.

His dismissal can only lead to more crime and anti-social behaviour, with no-one on the spot to do anything about it.

Brenda R Palmer, Chapel Close, Reepham

Thanks for clean public toilets

Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 15:46

As a frequent visitor to Reepham, I must congratulate the town on the state of cleanliness of the public toilets in Pudding Pie Alley.

Thanks in particular to the person who cleans these toilets, who I see has been doing this for 25 years (George celebrates 25 years of bog cleaning).

In fact, free public conveniences are a rarity these days. Frequently they are locked or dirty – if they exist at all – and many of us, both young and old, are forced to sneak into cafés, shops or pubs, trying to spend a penny without spending a pound.

In the 21st century the lack of clean and accessible public toilets in many towns and cities across the UK is a disgrace. Are we becoming a third world country?

The need for a toilet is a basic human need.

K. Boustead, Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich

Tesco elevations?

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 13:46

Re “Plans for convenience store on School Road garage site” (posted 15 November 2017), I wonder if we’re getting a Tesco?

A news story published in the Blackpool Gazette (1 March 2013) combined with the proposed elevations makes me think it might be the case. Read this story HERE

Dean Orchard, Reepham