July 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, July 18, 2014
A Holt school is raising hopes that the town’s long-running parking problems could soon be eased.
Gresham’s School is in the early stages of plans to turn some of its unused land off Church Street in the town centre into a public car park with between 40 and 50 spaces.
The idea comes as the saga of the proposed 385-space Thornage Road car park continues because of financial wrangling over a strip of land.
Members of Holt Chamber of Trade as well as town, district and county councillors, hope to meet in about six weeks to discuss the wider issue of how to tackle a lack of parking spaces in the popular Mecca for shoppers.
James Stronach, business and finance director at Gresham’s, said: “We recognise there is a desperate need for extra car parking in Holt. We are not using the land for sports and it is a dead end. If we can use it for parking it will hopefully be a benefit.”
He added: “People are now bypassing Holt because they know the parking situation is so poor.
“I have quite often driven into town and not been able to park so have driven back home. I have wanted to shop but not been able to. For people who live nearby it is annoying but for people far away it puts them off visiting.”
He said the plan had been devised for the benefit of the town and, if built, could be up and running within the next 18 months, if planning permission was granted.
The entrance and exit would be off Church Street, which runs next to Gresham’s Pre-Prep School, and St Andrew’s Parish Church Hall.
Engineers are currently looking at traffic movements around other Holt car parks and the feasibility of moving free parking spaces on Church Street further up the road to make the junction with the Market Place easier to navigate.
Mr Stronach wanted to make sure the potential Church Street modifications would be suitable.
It is not known how the car park will be funded, how much it will cost or who will manage it and plans are expected to go out to public consultation.
Holt mayor Bryan Payne, said: “Any car park has got to be good. A car park in the town centre is brilliant.”
The town council has got permission to build an 84-space car park off Cley Road, which would have a 10-year lease.
But it hinges on the authority receiving £30,000 from Norfolk Homes, as a condition of planning permission being sought to build 81 homes off Peacock Lane, Cley Road and Woodfield Road.
The so called Section 106 cash is linked to any planning approval.
Businessman Graham Chapman also has a long-running plan to build a large car park off Thornage Road.
It was granted planning permission in 2009 but the land remains undeveloped after negotiations over the price of a public right of way over the Holt railway line on land owned by Norfolk County Council – valued at £120,000 - stalled between Mr Chapman and the county and district councils.
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