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Gorleston protection plan campaign

PUBLISHED: 09:15 06 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:58 22 October 2010

STEPHEN PULLINGER

A community group is stepping up its campaign for a development plan for Gorleston to protect the resort's character.

A community group is stepping up its campaign for a development plan for Gorleston to protect the resort's character.

Margaret Ward, chairman of Start - a group which addresses issues concerning the seafront and the town centre - aims to put the case for a special plan to the next meeting of Gorleston councillors on July 11.

The idea has gained new momentum after a recent public meeting in the town, called in response to borough council plans to revamp the seafront.

Residents voiced strong concerns about commercial-ising the resort and objected to proposals that include replacing tatty beach huts with a new facility such as a "quality" restaurant/café next to the paddling pool, and extending parking along the promenade.

Mrs Ward, who was meeting other campaigners today to finalise details of their submission to councillors, said: "I think the council underestimates the import-ance of maintaining the contrast between Gorleston and Yarmouth. That is part of the appeal of our area.

"Families can enjoy more developed activities in Yarmouth, such as the SeaLife Centre, and then come to Gorleston for its quiet, laid-back atmosphere and very good beach."

She said the current council plans to develop the seafront did not reflect the way people saw the place.

"What we need is to come up with a plan as a vision for Gorleston," she said.

"Then when people come up with development ideas it can be seen how they fit in with the plan."

Mrs Ward said a plan - developed by the council with community input - could also help to safeguard the future of Gorleston High Street, focusing on its independent shops but looking to create a more agreeable shopping experience.

Possible ideas might include introducing a weekly market in the precinct, covering the precinct with a glass dome, and introducing attractive High Street paving.

She said: "With a plan in place we will be better able to look for funding if and when it becomes available."

Council deputy leader Barry Stone said the idea of a plan was "very positive" and he totally supported trying to find ways of rejuvenating and maintaining the integrity of the High Street.

However, he stressed that the council had no money for major work itself and any schemes for Gorleston would have to be something that could be put to the private sector as a viable proposition.

He defended the council's decision to advertise for firms to come forward with development proposals for the site next to the paddling pool.

He said: "We are not trying to do anything underhand, we are trying to do something for the people of Gorleston."

Mr Stone gave a guarantee that any proposals would go to public consultation.


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