Controversial seaside flats approved - but can't be sold as holiday lets
- Credit: Chris Bishop
Controversial seaside flats have finally been approved - after their third appearance before the planning committee.
On Monday, West Norfolk Council’s planning committee reheard plans to build 32 flats on Southend Carpark off Seagate, in Hunstanton.
The development was initially rejected in December after councillors discovered it would lead to the loss of 100 parking spaces.
In an attempt to address these concerns, developers created 84 replacement spaces in a nearby coach park and returned before the committee in April.
However, the meeting descended into chaos, as councillors voted not to approve the plans but then voted not to reject them either – a move described as “unprecedented” by council officer Stuart Ashworth.
The developers returned but included a covenant on the apartments which will ensure they cannot be sold as holiday lets.
A report to the council said: “This covenant has been successfully used by Cornwall Council and ensures that people who wish to live in the area as full-time residents are able to buy the units, but crucially those who are not - or who wish to let the properties as holiday lets - cannot.
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“The above would be together with the plan to market the units initially to only local people from West Norfolk or those moving to be close to other family members who already live here, and only after this demand is met would the units be released to the wider market.”
Councillor Martin Storey said it was “extremely important” to give local people the chance to live where they grew up, but raised concerns about the affordability of the flats for people on local wages.
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Officers said the proposals included six affordable homes, four rentals and two shared ownership, which fits within the council's housing need assessment.
Several councillors again raised concerns about the loss of parking and the reduction of income for the council and local businesses from tourism.
This was dismissed by officer Dale Gagen, who said the car park provided sufficient capacity outside of the peak summer period.
David Jones, speaking on behalf of the planning consultant, added the properties would help with the year-round economy of Hunstanton, providing housing for local people who will spend money in the town.
The plans were approved 11 for, four against and two abstentions.