Boatyard could become holiday home

A village once famed as a booming port and now seen as a visitor attraction for its boats and sailing is suffering under the pressure of its very popularity.

A village once famed as a booming port and now seen as a visitor attraction for its boats and sailing is suffering under the pressure of its very popularity.

Blakeney was a thriving North Sea port until 100 years ago and since then it has become a popular boating community.

But second homeowners who do not use services all year round are being blamed for choking it up.

And it seems that because of North Norfolk District Council's planning policy, planners are unable to do anything to stop the last but one boatyard in the village being changed into yet another holiday home.

This is in the same street as a planned hotel and restaurant conversion.

David Hewitt has run his boatyard in Ruberry Hill off Saxlingham Road, for 30 years, but now he has already been given notice to quit the site by developers the Beeston Group.

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"What gets me is we are being kicked out for just one unit of holiday accomodation.

"It is quite a big yard and we were hoping to keep a strip of it to store boats, mostly crab boats we look after.

"We fought them as long as we could, but it seems that will not be possible, so that's it."

Councillors hoping to save the boatyard had agreed to visit the site to see if it might be possible to run the boat business alongside the home.

But the Highways authority said this would not be possible.

And although Mr Hewitt has been able to move his workshop to his brother George's yard at Stiffkey, he has struggled to find another site to store crab boats, which come in along the coast from Wells to Trimingham.

But that still does not solve the holiday accommodation problem in Blakeney.

A spokesman for the parish council said: "We do not want any more accommodation.

"There is already a high number of second homes in the district. We should retain this site for people to work on their boats."

Anne Maw, membership secretary of Blakeney's history society, said the village needed more houses to be lived in, not holiday accommodation, because it meant local shops struggled.

"This is why so many pubs in the area have closed. People are not there helping the community to flourish."

A final decision is due to be made at the district council's next planning meeting.