Taverham Nursery Centre on Fir Covert Road had sought permission to vary a planning condition restricting certain businesses from operating in 13 of its units.
The application was made to allow for two independent businesses to move into vacant units on the site – Victoria’s Hair and Beauty and Style and Polish beauticians – both of which would have been exempt under previous conditions.
Broadland council officers had initially recommended the application for refusal, however, after late discussions with the garden centre made a U-turn – on the condition that restrictions would only be lifted for the two vacant units.
And after lengthy debate on the matter, members of the council’s planning committee voted in favour of the recommendations – with the added condition that exceptions for these two units would only be made for hairdressers and beauticians.
The officer’s report initially raised concerns that removing the conditions could risk the site becoming an out-of-town shopping centre, which would have an adverse effect on other “local centres”.
The application split opinions on the committee, with some arguing the restrictions should have been lifted for all 13 units including in the original bid.
Lana Hempsall, Conservative councillor for Acle, said: “I found myself wanting the removal of the conditions for the entire site, as it is preventing economic growth.
“If a garden centre in Taverham can bring down the might of Norwich city centre we are on a road to nowhere.”
Reepham councillor Graham Everett added that the centre already had a number of businesses one might not expect to find at a garden centre, including “a very good sports shop and a pop-up charity shop”.
Sally Dye, representing the garden centre, said she would have preferred the application to have been approved in its original format. She said: “I would like to offer opportunities to young, upcoming businesses looking to find affordable premises. I think this would make it easier for us to do this.”