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Controversial energy park between Fakenham and Wells to be discussed

11:17 04 October 2014

The latest stage of a controversial multi-million pound project which could see renewable energy companies set up premises at a site between Fakenham and Wells without planning permission will be discussed by councillors next week.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) aims to push through with plans to establish a Local Development Order (LDO) at Egmere.

The LDO would allow companies which meet certain criteria to set up premises at a 30-hectare site without applying for planning permission.

If approved this would be the first LDO in north Norfolk.

It is intended that, by simplifying the planning process and encouraging investment to the area, local people will reap the economic benefits and jobs from the rapidly-growing offshore energy industry, off the north Norfolk coast.

Members of NNDC’s cabinet will discuss the issue on Monday.

They are being recommended to accept proposals to push through with the building of a 200-metre long estate road to allow access into the proposed offshore energy business park. This, aligned to costs of drainage and preparation work to allow utilities to be installed, would cost an estimated £1.5m.

NNDC is looking to enter into a 25-year lease with the Walsingham Estate, which owns the land, to enable it to secure external funding for the project. The council will look to share income from rents and expects to recover the costs of the development.

A council officer’s report to cabinet states: “If through the securing of external grant funds, the project acts as a catalyst to secure new job-creating investment in the district there will be wider economic benefits to the area, both directly through new business and job-creating investment as well as business rate receipts in the longer term.”

What do you think of the LDO proposals? Email adam.lazzari@archant.co.uk

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