Seafront flats could be approved despite loss of 100 parking spaces

West Norfolk council has applied to build 32 flats and maisonettes on part of the Southend Car Park

Plans for 32 flats and maisonettes on part of the Southend Car Park off Seagate, in Hunstanton, have been recommended for approval - Credit: Chris Bishop

Plans to build flats on a seafront car park look set to get the go-ahead.

West Norfolk council turned down its own application to develop the Southend Car Park, in Hunstanton, in December, after councillors heard the proposals would lead to the loss of 100 parking spaces.

New plans published in February proposed replacing them by creating spaces for cars in a nearby coach park.

Now councillors have been recommended to approve the £6m scheme, which includes 32 flats and maisonettes, when they meet on Monday, April 12.

A report to councillors says the amended plans address parking concerns and would also provide much-needed affordable housing for Hunstanton. 

It adds: "In any given year, the proposed loss of parking would have a negligible and largely un-noticeable effect on car parking and therefore the town’s tourism economy."

West Norfolk council has applied to build 32 flats and maisonettes on part of the Southend Car Park

Opponents say plans to develop the site will lead to the loss of 100 parking spaces nar the seafront - Credit: Chris Bishop

Hunstanton Town Council and the town's civic society both objected to the original plans.

Borough councillor Paul Beal said building on the car park would be "a disaster".

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“I feel saddened that this application has come to the fore again and I can’t express to much how important this car park is to the survival of tourism in Hunstanton," he added. 

"It is the main parking point to central Hunstanton with easy access to the beach as well as the town and no matter how many times an officer juggles the parking figures if this space is built on we will definitely lose 100-plus parking spaces and is irrelevant whether they are placed anywhere else in the town we still lose valuable places."

Another objector said the flats would block views of the sea from Park Road.

But the report recommends the plans are approved. It concludes: "The revisions to the car park to accommodate the proposal would result in the loss of 100 parking spaces from the Southend Road Car Park, however off-site modifications proposed to Seagate East car park and the Coach Park result in a net reduction of 16 car parking spaces.

"Given the above, and applying the planning balance, the benefits of the proposal through the provision of 32 residential units of an acceptable scale, design and layout is considered to outweigh the relatively limited harm through the net loss of 16 public car parking spaces."

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