Councillors back £500k shellfish facility

Councillors yesterday backed a £500,000 project aimed at safeguarding the future of a north Norfolk town's fishing industry.And to underline the importance of the project, North Norfolk District Council's cabinet said it would underwrite the £240,000 promised by the government for the scheme with council tax payers' cash.

Councillors yesterday backed a £500,000 project aimed at safeguarding the future of a north Norfolk town's fishing industry.

And to underline the importance of the project, North Norfolk District Council's cabinet said it would underwrite the £240,000 promised by the government for the scheme with council tax payers' cash.

The project to construct a shellfish-handling facility on the quay on a site at the bottom of Standard Road in Wells has been seen as a lifeline for the town's fishermen because it would provide them with up-to-date cooler, handling and storage facilities.

But opponents of the scheme, who claim it is in the wrong place on the picturesque quayside, submitted an application at the 11th hour for the area, known as Favour Parker quay, to be designated a public open space under recently approved legislation.

Their application is moving through its legal stages.

But, at yesterday's cabinet meeting at Cromer, members felt so strongly that the new facility was needed that they agreed to approve the scheme and underwrite the £240,000 Defra grant in the event of the facility being built and then being demolished if the town green application was successful.

Most Read

A condition of the grant is that work must start and be “substantially completed” by March 2008.

Clive Stockton, cabinet member for coastal issues and economic development, said: “We considered the financial risk was very low and there is considerable evidence of a long-established use as a working quay for the area where the facility is to be built.”

He said the evidence showed that Favour Parker quay had been in continual use by working fishermen for many years.

Last night, Wells resident, town councillor and cabinet member Joyce Trett welcomed the decision.

“I am extremely pleased that the proposal for the fishing facility has been given full approval by the cabinet because the area has an established use by working fishermen,” she said.

She added: “We need to preserve what little we have left of the fishing industry in Wells

and this news will give the fishermen a real boost.”

Wells businessman John Crook - who runs a ships' chandlery business on the quayside opposite the proposed site, represents the opponents of the scheme and submitted the open space application - was last night unavailable for comment.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter