Fight to save town from major restaurant development
- Credit: Ian Burt
A battle plan is being drawn up by Wells residents fighting against arguably the most opposed-to scheme in the town's recent history.
People in Wells have been fuming since North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) put forward plans to build a 100-seat restaurant and holiday apartments at the site of the public toilets at the town end of Beach Road.
Now, ahead of a crucial vote by NNDC's cabinet on Monday, residents are working to ensure local views are emphatically heard.
This week, a group has carried out surveys in the town.
They have spoken to 477 residents, 31 retailers and representatives from 16 cafes and restaurants.
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They say the vast majority are strongly opposed to any development on the site and 99pc are calling for cabinet members to vote in line with NNDC's overview and scrutiny committee who called for a 'proper consultation with Wells Town Council and the local community' before taking the proposals further.
This came after cabinet members had previously voted in favour of progressing the plans to the next stage.
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Wells resident Peter Rainsford, who has been collating the surveys, which will be sent to cabinet members before Monday's meeting, said: 'NNDC should be protecting Wells from this type of development, so people are shocked they are proposing such a thing.
'We are doing all that we can to ensure the views of the people of Wells are properly conveyed to all members of the cabinet.'
At a public meeting in Wells last month, attended by more than 200 members of the public, NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick said, with NNDC facing cuts from central government funding it was looking to raise money from its corporate assets to avoid raising council tax and making cuts to services.
He added that NNDC was being as open and transparent as possible and said local views would be listened to.
If the proposals go ahead, NNDC confirmed new public toilets will be built.
Many believe the development would not be in keeping with the surrounding area and some have questioned the morality of using public money to set up a business to compete against existing traders.