Happisburgh car park move planned
PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 January 2011
An erosion-hit seaside village is set to get a new tourist car park, toilet block, and beach access ramp.
Plans are afoot to move Happisburgh’s car park from Beach Road to another clifftop site to the east in a £290,000 project.
The new site, also off Beach Road where 16 homes have been lost to erosion over the years, is designed to be able to retreat and adjust as the coastline changes.
Local councillor Clive Stockton said people were pleased with the scheme which was a “very positive” investment.
He said it would help bring visitors back to Happisburgh and fit in with a wider plan to boost tourism in the eastern part of North Norfolk.
The new car park site was in a better-protected location in a bay which had rock armour, said Mr Stockton, who is the North Norfolk District Council cabinet member for coastal issues.
Replacing the ramp, which was lost to erosion and saw the lifeboat station having to relocate a mile east to Cart Gap, would make it easier for people to enjoy the beach, as many did not like using the replacement staircase.
The scheme will be paid for by part of a £3m pot of Pathfinder funding from central government, aimed at helping communities adjust to their changing coastlines.
It is being used to tackle a string of schemes along the coastline, from re-locating the village hall at Trimingham to compensating homeowners in danger of losing their houses at Happisburgh.
A report to North Norfolk District Council’s cabinet says the Happisburgh car park project is “essential to restoring confidence and investment in the village and to ensure that the impacts of erosion can continued to be managed with minimal detriment to the facilities and amenity of this important coastal location.”
Coastal planning officer Rob Young said the new site would be temporary and designed to relocate again in the future.
He added: “This location was chosen over sites which might be more sustainable in the long term on the basis that it was so much more suitable and attractive for the expected users.”
The plans also include a “relocatable” toilet block, and a shop or kiosk, likely to be run by the RNLI lifeboat branch. The new ramp to the beach would also be able to “roll back” as erosion ate away at the cliff face.
Villagers are being consulted, and talks are under way with the parish council about whether it wants to manage the car park and benefit from the expected £12,000 a year parking fee income.
The district council cabinet will be asked to approve the £23,000 land purchase cash on Monday, January 10, with hopes of finalising plans early in the New Year.