Anonymous benefactor set to bid for Stalham land on behalf of community

Stalham old Station Yard site and High Street car park.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Stalham old Station Yard site and High Street car park.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An anonymous benefactor is offering to buy a key piece of Stalham land on behalf of the community.

If successful, the bid could see the old Station Yard site, derelict for more than a decade, transformed into a public park.

Site owners Norfolk County Council have put the 0.63 ha (1.54 acre) derelict site on the market with a guide price of £200,000. Offers must be received by 11am on September 18.

But there is still uncertainty over whether the county council would accept the benefactor's offer if it is not the highest bid.

The latest move follows years of failed ideas for the site, between the western end of High Street and the A149, which ended with the county council offering it to Stalham Town Council for £250,000 in 2012.

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After much wrangling and heartache, the town council decided it could not afford to buy it and feared the cash-strapped county council would sell to a developer.

Nigel Dixon, county councillor for Stalham, said he had been approached by the benefactor, whose identity he declined to reveal.

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The person was prepared to give the land to the town council for a peppercorn rent, on a 50-year lease, to be kept as open space for the benefit of the community.

'I feel it's a very positive opportunity,' said Mr Dixon. 'The site has a very unfortunate history. I think it would be a shame if one of the key entrances to the town were to become more built environment.'

He hoped the county council would take into account 'best value' when selling the site - weighing up benefits to the community against the best cash offer.

Duncan Edmonds, chairman of Stalham Town Council, said members would discuss plans for a public park, in the hope that the benefactor made a successful bid, at an extraordinary meeting on Monday, September 1, at 7.30pm in the St Mary's Church rooms.

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