Popular Fakenham car park saved, after district council U-turn
© Archant Norfolk 2014
A Norfolk council has been forced to make a U-turn after a public outcry over plans to sell a popular car park in Fakenham.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) was considering selling Highfield Road car park for housing for the over 55s.
But the council at its cabinet meeting on Monday, October 30 decided to retain it as a car park and introduce charges to bring it in line with other council car parks in the town.
The car park will be kept under the management of NNDC and a new parking charge will be introduced from April 1, 2018.
A capital budget of £75,000 will also be established to fund improvement work, financed through capital receipts.
Fakenham Town Mayor George Acheson asked at the meeting whether the £75,000 would also be used to refurbish the toilets at the site.
But Judy Oliver, cabinet member for assets, said it would not, and added that the town and district councils would have to discuss how work on the toilets could be funded.
She added: “A public consultation was held and the clear majority were for keeping it as a car park, and the introduction of car parking charges will also be fair.”
Mr Acheson also asked for the height barriers at the car park to be taken down, to allow coaches and lorries to use it over the Christmas period, which was agreed to.
Ward councillor for Fakenham, Roy Reynolds added: “This is very important for Fakenham. There were moves to sell the car park 13 years ago, but these were strongly objected to, and then five years ago the car park was possibly going to be sold and closed again.”
Fellow ward councillor Annie Claussen-Reynolds added: “Highfield car park has stirred great emotions in Fakenham, and has done so for many years.”
The district council’s strategic property partner Gleeds had recommended that the car park be sold for development.
But residents opposed the sale during the consultation, on the grounds that it provided a valuable facility for local residents without private parking, and that it was used by local people working in town centre businesses, among other reasons.