Seafront apartments rejected over parking concerns

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

Plans to build apartments on Southend car park in Hunstanton have been rejected - Credit: Archant

A bid to create new apartment blocks on a seafront car park has been thrown out after concerns were raised over the loss of spaces. 

King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council had submitted plans for a £6m scheme to build 32 apartments on Southend car park, off Seagate in Hunstanton. 

Six of the properties were set to be affordable, with the remaining homes initially offered for sale exclusively to west Norfolk residents or family members moving closer. 

The development would mean the loss of 100 car parking spaces. But the council's consultants say the

Plans to build apartments on Southend car park in Hunstanton have been rejected - Credit: Archant

In all, 100 car parking spaces were set to be sacrificed but, during a meeting of the borough council's planning committee on Monday, planning officer Hannah Wood deemed the loss to be "negligible" in relation to the town centre's 1,500 capacity. 

However, the committee could not see past the potential impact on tourism in the event of parking facilities being sliced.

Despite highlighting its attractive appearance, members voted down the proposal - against the planning officer's recommendation. 

Carol Bower, borough councillor for Hunstanton, said: "The development itself looks absolutely lovely. What really upsets me and a lot of the residents I represent is the loss of car parking spaces.

Former Hunstanton mayor Carol Bower who has spoken out against the closure of the resort's tourist i

Carol Bower, borough councillor for Hunstanton, was against plans to build apartments at Southend car park - Credit: Matthew Usher

"This car park serves the high street and the south prom, and is very popular with families. The alternative Clifftop Car Park is not a short walk away. 

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"The detrimental effect of losing those spaces is not acceptable to me.” 

Town councillor Andrew Murray said the scheme did not fulfil the vision of the Hunstanton Town Centre and Southern Seafront Masterplan - created in 2008 with a view to regenerating the area. 

At the Heritage Gardens in Hunstanton is town mayor Andrew Murray. Picture: Ian Burt

Hunstanton town councillor Andrew Murray was against plans to build apartments at Southend car park - Credit: Ian Burt

He added: "If this application is approved, we expect many of the units will be bought as investments or second homes."

And, despite the borough council's pledge to sell to local people, worries over Hunstanton becoming a "cash cow" were prevalent.

Councillor Christine Hudson added: "There is a desperate need for local housing for residents of Hunstanton, but can they afford it?

"I have a horrid feeling that the majority is going to turn into holiday housing and second homes. We should be putting local residents first."

Vivienne Spikings Picture: Matthew Usher.

Councillor Vivienne Spikings supported plans to build apartments at Southend car park in Hunstanton - Credit: Matthew Usher

But councillor Vivienne Spikings, who supported the project, said: “We have to sometimes embrace change. I know there’s parking spaces going, but there could be other car parks coming into play in the future.” 

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