A frustrated businessman has suggested adding a second storey to his central Holt car park, in a bid to ease the town’s chronic parking problems.

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Michael Baker said his patience was running out because “nothing was happening” in the long-running quest to create more parking in the picturesque Georgian north Norfolk town, and so he was investigating an extra parking tier on top of the car park outside his Budgen’s supermarket.

If approved, the project might cost up to £1m and could see a steel, roofed construction straddling both sections of the car park, which are separated by Kerridge Way.

Mr Baker, managing director of CT Baker, which includes Holt’s major department store Bakers and Larners, on Market Place, stressed the scheme was “in the very, very early stages.”

He added: “We are in the centre of Holt and we have struggled for a number of years with the lack of car parking in the town. We have got to the stage where it is severely restricting the growth of Holt town centre. This car park is possibly the most central and useful in the town.”

Mr Baker, who represents Holt on North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), said his car park contained more than 120 spaces and he anticipated a second tier would roughly double that figure.

He had made an initial approach to NNDC about the proposal. “There are potentially significant planning and highways issues with this scheme and then there is the engineering aspect of actually building it,” he added.

“I have asked the officers to let me know what the issues would be if we did put in a planning application.”

A major stumbling block was likely to be cost. It was far too early to say who would pay, but Mr Baker said he expected that his business would be the “lead company” in any venture.

He added: “I think, without doubt, there are sections of the community who will be totally horrified by this idea but, equally, there will be bigger sections who will be overjoyed that, at last, something is being done about parking in Holt.”

Mr Baker’s project was revealed at Monday’s meeting of Holt Town Council where members heard from county councillor Russell Wright that there had been no development on moves to conclude a deal between Norfolk County Council (NCC) and businessman Graham Chapman, who gained permission in 2009 for a 385-space car park off Thornage Road, Holt.

Negotiations, which have been shrouded in secrecy, are believed to have become quagmired over the amount the county wants in return for pedestrian access over its land to the site.

Mr Wright said that a high-level meeting had been held in July with attendees including county council chief executive David White, Mr Chapman and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.

As a result, a proposal was put forward with an end-of-August deadline. The time had expired and Mr Chapman had not responded.

Talking to the EDP, Mr Chapman said he had responded to the proposal and had received an email acknowledgement from the county council.

But he declined to discuss the proposal, or the nature of his response, saying the county council had asked him to keep the matter confidential.

10 comments

  • This delay in the whole car park saga is now becoming an insult to the people of holt. If what Mr Baker proposes is what it takes to get things moving then good on him! Alternatetively, how about compusorily purchase mr Chapman's field and end it all that way. But DO something, sombody!

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    Joey

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • It is inconceivable that a two storey car park straddling Kerridge Way could ever be made to look anything other than a monstrosity. In addition I suspect that NNDC would never pass this under current planning laws. It might be possible to make a car park under the present one but the I suspect the costs would be prohibitive? Thinking outside the box is laudable but really does anyone really think that creating something which would aesthetically blight Holt for the next few decades is the right way forward?

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    Douglas McCoy

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Many of the drivers in Holt are aged and only go out once a week in their cars to do their shopping. I don`t think it is a very good idea to construct a platform from which they can launch their automatics from. Landing a helicopter in the Market Place is one thing; but a Nissan Micra, definitely not.

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    BG

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Another politician promising to resolve the situation for a bit of publicity but fails again?

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • No Mr Omnishambles, you are wrong. Mr Baker does not need the publicity. What he is doing is trying to solve a problem which has being going on far too long thanks to the ditherers in high places and other various factions who are trying to benefit themselves. The idea does sound quite ambitious, but Mr Baker didn't get to where he is today without thinking outside the box and taking risks.

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    jeffy

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • No Mr Omnishambles, you are wrong. Mr Baker does not need the publicity. What he is doing is trying to solve a problem which has being going on far too long thanks to the ditherers in high places and other various factions who are trying to benefit themselves. The idea does sound quite ambitious, but Mr Baker didn't get to where he is today without thinking outside the box and taking risks.

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    jeffy

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • Would be more sensible, given the points below, if he would excavate and have an underground level and a ground level.

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    Callum Ringer

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • samphirelover's distinct apathy towards Holt is rather disheartening. Holt today remains something of a success story compared to the towns he prefers to shop at. I would suggest that the fact that Mike Baker can even contemplate being a 'lead' in the financing of a two storey car park is testament to how successful his current portfolio of businesses are doing! Looking at the High Street today I can't see an awful lot of difference from a few years ago and certainly nothing to suggest that Holt is struggling to attract trade. That Holt has survived relatively unscathed architecturally and has such a wide variety of shops certainly hasn't deterred shoppers and visitors which is part of the reason that parking is such an issue. Whilst Holt does urgently require another car park this idea if seen to fruition would blight Holt for decades to come and would I'm sure only decrease its appeal to visitors.

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    Douglas McCoy

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

  • It's about time Holt had a good old shake-up so I see nothing wrong with this idea. Holt is full of charity shops, tatty gift shops and antique shops. Fine if you're a holidaymaker but a waste of time if you actually live here. I have not bought a single thing in Holt for well over a year now. I prefer to shop in Fakenham, Cromer, Sheringham and occasionally Dereham. What Holt needs is another supermarket, some affordable clothes and shoe shops and much better parking.

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    samphirelover

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

  • It is inconceivable that a two storey car park straddling Kerridge Way could ever be made to look anything other than a monstrosity. In addition I suspect that NNDC would never pass this under current planning laws. It might be possible to make a car park under the present one but the I suspect the costs would be prohibitive? Thinking outside the box is laudable but really does anyone really think that creating something which would aesthetically blight Holt for the next few decades is the right way forward?

    Report this comment

    Douglas McCoy

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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