Cromer retirement homes plan approved despite “Frinton-on-Sea” warning

John Lee.

John Lee. - Credit: Archant

Outline planning permission for 68 retirement flats on the edge of Cromer has been granted conditional approval, despite strong objections from local representatives.

Sutherland Homes can go ahead with its scheme for land behind Barclay Mews, on Overstrand Road.

North Norfolk District Council planning councillors heard that the site was on green space it had allocated for development.

And planning officers said the benefits of extra homes outweighed disadvantages to the nearby grade two-listed Grove restaurant and guest house.

But Cromer mayor Tim Adams and local district councillor John Lee urged development committee members to refuse the plan.

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Mr Lee said there were very few green spaces left in Cromer and, with the proposed development of nearby Cabbell Park, there would be even fewer.

He believed there were already enough retirement homes in the town.

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'We're in danger of turning Cromer into the north Norfolk equivalent of Frinton-on-Sea,' he warned.

He and Mr Adams spoke of The Grove's economic importance to the town.

Mr Adams said: 'This will have a considerable impact on its character and setting.'

Mark Philpot, representing The Grove, said it was a thriving local business in an idyllic setting which bought produce from local sources.

The development would be next door to The Grove and would have a significant harmful impact on it.

But planning councillor Vivienne Uprichard said the green space was not used for anything at present and the flats, which she thought looked attractive, would attract new residents who would spend money in the local economy.

Members heard that a statement produced by the applicant, and accepted by planning officers, showed the scheme would not be viable if affordable housing was included.

An 'uplift' clause was attached to the planning conditions so that, if the developer makes a certain level of profit on sales, cash is given to NNDC for affordable homes.

But councillor Barry Smith was unhappy at the complete lack of affordable homes.

'It doesn't encourage young people to remain in the area one iota and we desperately need them. This does not promote the future of Cromer or north Norfolk, ' he said.

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