December 7 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Monday, September 9, 2013
A major step forward has been taken towards regenerating an eyesore site at North Walsham’s gateway.
Hopkins Homes has submitted its long-awaited plans for the former HL Foods canning factory site on Norwich Road which closed in 2002 and has since been demolished, leaving a large area of dereliction at the main entrance to the town.
The firm is seeking full planning permission for 176 homes, a 50-space railway station car park, public open space and service roads, and outline permission for employment uses on a 8.7ha (21.5 acres) site.
But the application does not include any affordable homes and Hopkins Homes also says that it cannot meet expected eco-friendly standards on the provision of features such as water recycling and high levels of insulation.
The firm says they would not be viable “due to the significant infrastructure costs, particularly given the previous use of the site.”
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) aims at 20pc affordable housing in North Walsham.
If approved, the application would benefit from a £2.3m government loan, secured via the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), to help with infrastructure costs such as the main estate road and utility services for the development.
Jacqueline Belson, Mayor of North Walsham, said the town council would be discussing the plan at its meeting tomorrow.
Mrs Belson added: “I believe councillors would like to see development take place and remove the eyesore we see when entering the town. However, we also wanted a percentage of affordable homes, which does not appear to be on the table.
“For North Walsham to move forward it is of utmost importance to get these derelict sites addressed.”
An NNDC spokesman said the authority would aim to make a decision on the application within 13 weeks “depending on what issues might arise.”
The application is the first phase of a scheme which it is anticipated would eventually see a total 24.5ha (60.5 acres)site developed on land to the east of Norwich Road. The area was allocated for development by NNDC in 2011.