Drainage wrangle leads to threat of closure for new Davenport’s Magic Kingdom attraction in North Walsham
- Credit: Archant
A major new Norfolk attraction, which opened last weekend, could be ordered to close in a year's time because of a wrangle over drainage.
Davenport's Magic Kingdom, in North Walsham, has been given 12 months to prove its anti-flood measures work, or to build a new reservoir.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) planners decided yesterday that if those conditions were not met, the attraction 'shall cease to operate on May 31 2014.'
The move follows a long history of drainage problems on the magic kingdom site, dating back to the days when it was a Crane Fruehauf trailer factory.
Members of yesterday's NNDC development committee heard that in 1969 a reservoir, connected by a pipe to the Crane Fruehauf land, had been created 330m south of the site, near The Old Stables.
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But the pond had not been built to the right specifications, according to Old Stables owner Keith Wagstaff.
There had been many instances of flooding over the years, especially in 2001 when it had burst its banks, seriously affecting several homes.
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And in recent years development of the Crane Fruehauf site had made the situation worse, increasing the area that the pond had to cope with from 1ha to 4.1ha.
When granting planning permission for the magic kingdom, NNDC had imposed a condition that a second pond must be built before it could open.
But last month magician Roy Davenport applied to have that condition removed. Planners heard Mr Davenport had instead built a large ditch at the front of his site and had installed a restricting valve on the outflow pipe.
He argued that, in times of heavy rain, the ditch and valve would enable any water to be contained on his site and released gradually into the existing reservoir and from there into Skeyton Beck.
Mr Davenport's agent, Adam Griggs, told yesterday's meeting that they wanted to be part of the solution and believed they had improved the drainage situation.
Members heard that there needed to be an agreement over a lease for the second pond between Mr Wagstaff and Mr Davenport's landlords, Citygate Developments.
Several councillors expressed sympathy for both Mr Wagstaff and Mr Davenport as victims of a situation neither had created. They wanted to see Citygate brought under pressure to resolve the problem.
The one-year trial period was agreed as a compromise. Mr Davenport's drainage measures will be closely monitored throughout.
Mr Wagstaff warned no other developers would be interested in a site where there was a flood risk and said the situation had to be resolved urgently.