Holiday let plan rejected due to flooding concerns

River Thurne / Potter Heigham Bridge.
Picture: James Bass

River Thurne / Potter Heigham Bridge. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2009

Holiday lets in a flood risk area have been rejected by a planning authority despite arguments they are supported in the local plan. 

Redevelopment of the Old Bridge Hotel site in Potter Heigham was put before the Broads Authority on Friday.

The hotel, by the River Thurne, was a landmark in the Broads until it burned down in 1991. 

Two years later, permission was granted for a replacement building although no works ever occurred and in recent years it has been used as a car park. 

Plans included eight one-bedroom and four two-bedroom flats for holiday use, as well as a restaurant and 32 parking spaces. 

While the Potter Heigham Parish Council was not opposed to the plan, both the Environment Agency and Historic England objected due to flood risk and possible impact on the Potter Heigham bridge respectively. 

Committee member Bill Dickson said he was “staggered” by the application, and questioned why the developer had proceeded despite knowing it was a flood risk area. 

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Rodney Hale-Sutton, the architect for the development, said he and the developer had been told the development was suitable by a Broads officer, describing the recommendation for refusal as a “total shock”. 

But a Broads officer said this was a misunderstanding of the information they had given. 

She added: “In principle the application is acceptable, we have got all the sorts of things we want to see here. 

“But before we can proceed the flood risk issues need to be addressed.” 

Nick Mackmin, the applicant, said the site had a hotel for almost 200 years before it burnt down. 

“We could have taken the view when I bought the land to rebuild the hotel which would have been on the historic bridge and had planning permission. 

“I could have rebuilt the old hotel; I could have converted it to accommodation but this scheme was deemed to be more appropriate.” 

James Knight argued that the scheme would be located within the Broads authority local plan, which he said directly mentions supporting development on the site. 

Mr Knight argued rejecting it would mean they should throw out the plan and start again. 

The application was rejected nine votes to two.