Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Tesco claims for store challenged

A sign in the window of bookseller Bertram Watts in Sheringham
Tesco's previous plans for Sheringham were rejected at a public inquiry

Tesco claims 1,200 people in a Norfolk resort want a supermarket despite a public inquiry rejecting their plans.

Campaigners against a store in Sheringham said the question in a survey by Tesco was loaded.

Tesco said it received 900 positive replies from a leaflet and 300 more supporters have signed up on a networking website.

Campaigners said the only question, "do you want a supermarket in Sheringham?" was too general to have any meaning.

They have called for Tesco to take over the vacant Woolworths store in the town.

Campaigners are concerned about the effect of a large store on small traders in the seaside resort and about the impact of traffic on roads that are very busy in the summer months.

Eroica Mildmay said: "The supermarket must be the right store, in the right place.

"We are wary of Tesco's plans for a one-stop store with everything from food to clothing, from stationery to pharmaceuticals.

"Tesco are a bit disingenuous to ask such an open ended question and claim it is support for them.

"It's like asking people if they want a lot on money then delivering it in West African francs."

Tesco is preparing plans for a new store on a smaller scale than the project that was rejected at a public inquiry but has yet to publicise the designs.

Networking site support

Nick Gellatly, spokesman for Tesco, said: "The response from the community has been very encouraging. It's a clear sign that they want a new supermarket here although we had a handful of negative replies.

"We are working hard on improved plans to submit to the council and hope they will listen to local people's views."

Mel Clarke, from the Protesc supporters group, added: "When the last plans were turned down people in and around the town were devastated.

"What everyone has to do now is write to their local councillors when the plans come out - decision makers need to know that the people of the town want this to happen."

Tesco also claims the support of 300 other residents who have signed up on a social networking site run by Jono Read who lives in Holt and is a University of East Anglia student.

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