House plan dubbed ‘second Cromer lighthouse’ raises passions on both sides
It is being called Cromer's second lighthouse.
But this one looks set to provide anything but a reassuring presence.
Passions are boiling over in the town over plans to build a modernistic 2.5-storey house on top of the Cromer Ridge.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) planners had been recommended to approve Russell Wright's application for a home on Howard's Hill.
But councillors deferred making a decision after objectors claimed architects' photo montage representations of the house's impact were misleading.
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The design has been condemned by opponents, more than 40 of whom have lodged official objections, as looking variously like a second Cromer lighthouse, a prison and a conning tower.
They say the building, which features a viewing tower and a sun lounge glazed on four sides, will infringe on their privacy and be visible from the adjoining Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cromer Lighthouse, Happy Valley, Beeston Hill and Sheringham golf course. They also fear a number of trees will be lost.
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But former district councillor and cabinet member Mr Wright, who runs a landscaping business, insists the creative design will blend into the landscape and says he has already planted 104 trees on the site.
He is confident that his architects' report was accurate and had been drawn up by qualified professionals and has criticised planners for 'bowing to mob rule' rather than following planning procedure.
He utterly refuted any suggestions that, as a former councillor, he was getting favourable treatment. 'If anything, they are treating this application with kid gloves and being especially cautious and vigilant because I was a councillor,' he added.
David Groves, spokesman for the objectors, said they were angry that NNDC had changed its policy for the site - land which was once the old Cromer Zoo.
Permission had been granted in the past for three single-storey homes there with stringent rules restricting visibility. Two homes had been built, with the council scrutinising each stage of development.
Now, that same council appeared set to allow a house which would 'stick out like another lighthouse,' said Mr Groves, of Fulcher Avenue.