Affordable homes will go to locals first
- Credit: Supplied by developer
Locals will have first refusal on new affordable homes in Sheringham under plans welcomed by schools, businesses and the local MP.
Proposals for West Wood, a 70-bed care home and 24 affordable home scheme on Weybourne Road, next to the town's new Reef leisure centre, were submitted late last month.
The developer, Hollands Sheringham Ltd, has promised the homes will be prioritised for people with family, historical or employment links to the town.
A supporting document submitted to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) said this will help address the backlog of 2,500 applicants on the council's housing register.
The plans have been welcomed by North Norfolk MP, Duncan Baker, who described them as an "innovative and crucial step" in addressing housing need in the area.
He said: "With more and more Sheringham housing being sold as second homes, Airbnb letting and generally unaffordable private rental or sale stock, West Wood will deliver the single largest affordable units built in the town over the past 30 years."
A lack of affordable homes for locals has been a growing concern along the Norfolk coast, which has grown in popularity as a tourist hotspot.
Nine letters of support and one objection have been submitted to NNDC for the West Wood proposal.
A supporter from Woodfield School said: "We employ over 130 staff in school and over recent years the fall in size of a local and available workforce has become critical with many key posts being left vacant."
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The school spokesperson added: "With an ageing local population where the vast majority of adults no longer work is made worse by the rapid rise in second homes and holiday rental properties, creating an unsustainable position where local houses are either unaffordable or simply not available."
A spokesperson for the Hempstead Road Business Centre, echoed the concerns, saying the development was needed "before its too late".
However, a St Austins Grove resident objected to the plans, arguing it would be in an area of outstanding natural beauty - a space designated for conservation by Natural England.
"Consideration of the fact the development is about 300m from undefended cliffs (Sheringham town is currently protected only) therefore future consideration for house insurance and long-term viability of a development in this location should be made," the objector said.
The objector also said the site was ploughed after the former allotments were closed in 2010, without any regard for protected species and fails to retain green spaces against the guidance of the local plan.