Anger over Stalham Station Yard sale
- Credit: Archant
Shell-shocked Stalham is demanding to know why a key piece of land has been sold against its wishes.
Residents, backed by an anonymous benefactor, had hoped to keep the old Station Yard site for community use.
But Norfolk County Council has sold the derelict site to the highest of three bidders.
Now town leaders fear the sensitive plot, between High Street and the A149 by-pass, will be developed with unsightly housing.
The benefactor, who was among the bidders, had intended giving the land to the town council on a peppercorn 50-year lease and there were plans to turn it into a public park.
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Town council chairman Duncan Edmonds voiced his disappointment and felt the county council was seeking to 'sell assets for short-term financial expediency with little regard for the future of the local communities it purports to serve' – but stressed he was speaking personally rather than for the council.
Avril Smith, former director of the Happing Festival, has complained to the county council and its property arm, Norfolk Property Services, calling for the deal to be halted. She also questions the county's claim that it must accept the highest bid, saying riverside land at Hoveton was sold to a lower bidder for community use.
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A county council spokesman said it had a duty to maximise returns to the public purse when selling assets so funds were available for essential services.
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