Sanders Coaches warns it may have to leave Holt to expand business

PUBLISHED: 17:01 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:42 18 February 2016

Sanders bus in North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Sanders bus in North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

One of the area’s biggest employers has warned it may be forced to drive out of Holt - unless it can find room to expand.

The draft development brief for the 18-hectare site at Heath Farm and Hempstead Road. Picture: SUBMITTEDThe draft development brief for the 18-hectare site at Heath Farm and Hempstead Road. Picture: SUBMITTED

Local bus company, Sanders Coaches, has increased the size of its fleet from 14 to 55 buses since it began operating from a base in the town’s Hempstead Road in 1991.

But it has reached a dead end in attempts to expand the business on to neighbouring land.

Charles Sanders, managing director, said: “We’ve got a depot but what I need is room for more parking as my operations have increased over the years.

“We are full up to the end of our site and the staff parking causes issues to our neighbours.”

Steve Blatch, corporate director at North Norfolk District CouncilSteve Blatch, corporate director at North Norfolk District Council

Mr Sanders said the neighbouring plot is privately owned by Bullen Investment and Browns and, in 2013, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) granted planning permission for the land to be used for industrial and housing development.

But he added: “We’ve just been trying to get some sort of idea of if it is going to become available and we’ve not got very far.

“We’ve written a letter to the town council and to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and the NNDC are trying to set up meetings with the developers.

“If nothing happens then the only option would be to move our business to get more land, but we really would like to stay and get a resolution.

“It’s very frustrating, we know other people that would also like extra space.”

At a recent town council meeting, councillors shared Mr Sanders’ frustration and said it had raised the concerns with NNDC and the developers many times.

Town clerk Elaine George said: “We are keen to see the industrial land put into action and become a source of jobs for the people in Holt. We don’t want Sanders to move out.”

The town council is planning to invite NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick and corporate director Steve Blatch to the next meeting to discuss the issue.

Mr Blatch said: “The H09 application is working to develop the new roundabout off the A148 first, which will mean a different access into the industrial estate, a better access, away from Hempstead Road and the houses down there.

“But Sanders need is now. He has outlined frustrations with me and I have tried to arrange a meeting with the land owners agent and Mr Sanders.

“We would support the early release of land expansion for Sanders and for the better management of his site.”

A spokesperson for Strutt & Parker, agents acting on behalf of the land owners, said: “The current planning permission does not permit us to bring forward any employment land without providing the key infrastructure.

“The landowner remains committed to delivering the scheme at the earliest opportunity. To this end we have meetings arranged with Holt Town Council and North Norfolk District Council to discuss a revised planning application.”

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