Plans for Congham Hall Hotel expansion and holiday homes hang in the balance after planning meeting
PUBLISHED: 11:40 31 July 2017
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Plans for a controversial expansion of a countryside hotel have been stalled after councillors agreed to visit the site before making a decision.
In a packed planning committee meeting in King’s Lynn Town Hall, West Norfolk councillors were urged to consider the damage the expansion of Congham Hall Hotel will have on the surrounding environment.
Plans to build 19 holiday cabins on the parkland off Lynn Road next to the hotel were recommended for approval to the committee by planning officers.
Proposals were also made for expansion of existing facilities including a widened access route, an extended car park and new spa room.
West Norfolk Green Party member Michael de Whalley raised concerns over the impact the development would have on the village’s environment and wildlife.
“Congham is a quiet village which suffers from minimal light pollution.” He said. “Even small increases in noise and light pollution will be noticeable.
“Influx of a large number of holiday-makers into a small village will inevitably place strain on infrastructure.
“The woodland and park at Congham Hall provide an important wildlife corridor to ensure the Borough’s nature reserves are not isolated.”
But chief exec of Congham Hall, Nicholas Dickinson, said the development will boost the economy and bring permanent jobs for local people.
He added: “Local employment means exactly that. “Resting on one’s laurels can be fatal, people fear change but not all change is harmful.
“The parkland in Congham Hall is its greatest commercial asset, we are ensuring the new development sits naturally with the environment.
“This development has conservation at its heart.”
But the planning committee held mixed views on whether to approve the plans, with many voicing their concerns over the vast expansion taking place over a short period of time.
Councillor Andrew Morrison said members needed to consider whether the economic benefits of the proposal outweigh any harm caused to the landscape and that it was an “impossible task.” The committee agreed to visit the site at Congham Hall on Thursday, August 3, before they make their decision.