The team also manages North Norfolk District Council's Twitter account, @NorthNorfolkDC, and the website as well as meeting the council's in-house design and branding business needs.
New life for North Walsham town centre?
Following a detailed analysis of retail trends and demand/supply, consultants have advised the North Walsham Leadership of Place steering group that the development of a centrally located supermarket could provide the impetus for town centre regeneration.
The North Walsham Leadership of Place group (a partnership of local authority, and local private enterprise, education and community groups), commissioned consultants S.P.A. to look at retail demand in the town, especially the capacity of sites and existing premises to accommodate future development. SPA’s report, which was discussed at a meeting of the steering group on 15 October, proposed a number of options concerning the ‘vitality and viability’ of the town centre. The report concludes that there is significant interest in the town from supermarket retailers and that a development of this type could create the step change necessary to attract more shoppers into the town centre which in turn could lead to wider investment from non-food retailers.
SPA advise that the most effective way to exploit this interest for the benefit of the town as a whole would be to identify appropriate sites for a supermarket outlet close to the town centre to encourage linked trips, which would have the distinct benefit of increasing the number of shoppers with easy access to other existing retail outlets. The report concluded that one of the most appropriate sites would be one based on Paston Sixth Form College’s Lawns campus. This site would have the advantage, the report added, of enabling the college to invest strongly in its other sites in the town centre.
The steering group heard that an informal discussion had been undertaken with the College. But all agreed that while they could see the advantages in the general thrust of the report, any discussions as to how best to proceed are at a very early stage and significant detailed work with a full business case and viability analysis of the proposal needs to be undertaken.
David Robertson, North Walsham Town Mayor, said, “I think this is a very interesting idea and one we should certainly explore. North Walsham is a wonderful town full of life, but if we can bring even more activity to the town centre, so much the better.”
Mair Stockdale, Chair of North Walsham Chamber of Trade, said, “Anything that can bring more potential customers to the existing excellent retail offer in North Walsham should be encouraged. The Chamber of Trade looks forward to taking part in any future discussions.”
Paul Morse, County Councillor and Chair of Governors of North Walsham High School, said, “I think this is an intriguing idea that could be beneficial for both the town and Paston Sixth Form College.”
Eric Seward, Town and District Councillor and Chair of North Walsham Leadership of Place group, said, “This is an exciting idea. We should certainly explore all options to help bring greater vitality to the town centre.”
Kevin Grieve, Principal of Paston Sixth Form College, said, “We are a very successful college and we want to build on that success. Our first priority has to be the college and its students. We have always been at the heart of North Walsham and we will be very interested to see if further detailed analysis shows that this proposal could be of benefit to both ourselves and the town as a whole. There are a whole host of questions that need to be answered and issues to be resolved across a number of organisations and such a development is not going to happen overnight.”
North Norfolk District Council Cabinet will be considering the report at its meeting in December. In the meantime the development of an agenda of further investigations and discussions will take place to inform the detailed work on the overall viability of the proposal.
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