Developer McCarthy and Stone reveals plans for Cromer courthouse and police station site

Cromer has been given a first look at McCarthy and Stone's proposals for the site of the town's redundant courthouse and police station.

The developer wants to demolish the building in Holt Road to make way for up to 35 one and two-bedroom 'later living' apartments.

The artist impressions were revealed during a public open evening in Cromer Parish Hall on Thursday. (October 4)

It comes as North Norfolk District Council conservation experts have applied to have the courthouse and police station listed as being of local significance.

The building is among 53 properties recommended for inclusion on the Local List, which has been compiled following a public consultation during June and July. The document is part of the Cromer Conservation Area Management Plan, which will be considered by the district council's Planning Policy and Built Heritage Working Party on Monday. (October 8)

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The 53 properties have been selected because they are not listed buildings but do make a valuable contribution to the Conservation Area and are worthy of protection.

Conservation and design officer Paul Rhymes said: 'The old courthouse is very important for the part it played in Cromer's social history. It is not always about the most architecturally important buildings in the town.'

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He said the location of the courthouse and police station at the entrance to the town and opposite the railway station was also significant.

'It is an important building to Cromer and losing it is something we wouldn't support,' he said. 'If it was lost, we would expect anything that replaced it to be of high quality and influenced by the character and appearance of the area.'

Mr Rhymes said inclusion on the Local List would not give the properties any additional legal protection against development but would highlight the local importance of the buildings to planning decision makers.

Chairman of Cromer Preservation Society Andrew Boyce welcomed the moved. He said: 'It stresses the importance of the building so that if there was an application to demolish it, the council will be aware that the building is of significance.'

During Thursday's public exhibition, Lisa Matthewson of McCarthy and Stone said: 'We have had a variety of different comments about the plans. Overall they have been quite positive. If there are particular areas of concern we will go away and look at them but if they are not realistic we will explain why it isn't possible to make amendments.'

The building was erected in 1939 and has been redundant since the police station and courthouse closed at the end of March 2011.

A bid to turn it into a youth facility called The Nick Project was unsuccessful because campaigners ran out of time to raise the money needed for the site.

McCarthy and Stone have been conducting a public consultation over their proposals for the site but have yet to submit a planning application.

William Jones, of Bidwells Property Consultants, the firm handling the sale of the old courthouse and police station, confirmed that contracts had been exchanged and said the sale was subject to McCarthy and Stone gaining planning permission.

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