North Norfolk council to hold fire on controversial plans, following protests

The North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) offices in Cromer.

The North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) offices in Cromer. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Protesters in north Norfolk have forced the district council to hold fire on controversial asset commercialisation plans.

While no detailed proposals are in place, cabinet members at North Norfolk District Council previously voted in favour of progressing schemes in Wells and Fakenham.

But the controversial bid for a 100-seat restaurant and holiday apartments on the site of the public toilets in Beach Road, Wells and for housing for the over 55s in Highfield Road, Fakenham, will now be subject to further consultations.

Residents and councillors from Wells attended the council's cabinet meeting on Monday, March 6.

Christine Rayner told the meeting the proposal would mean an end to the special harbour view in Wells, and added: 'It would not be Wells quay any more.'

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And Wells resident Peter Rainsford added that it was 'a horribly controversial scheme that should never have got off the blocks'.

Following the comments, the council agreed to consult the town council and residents through a working party to decide what commercial development might be possible on the site, before its lease as an investment proposal.

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These discussions will take place over the next six months and the working party will hold monthly meetings.

The cabinet also agreed that a public consultation and discussions with Fakenham Town Council be held into the Highfield Road proposals. These consultations will run until the end of May.

Ongoing talks will also continue into a proposal for a hotel on the Cadogan Road car park in Cromer, which has raised concerns about a possible loss of parking spaces in the town.

Gary Dickenson, president of the chamber of trade and business in Cromer, said that easy access to the town centre from car parks was key to attracting visitors to the town.

Judy Oliver, deputy leader of the district council, said no detailed proposals were in place for any of the three schemes. And she said any lost car parking spaces in Cromer would be replaced.

NNDC is facing cuts from central government funding and is looking to raise money from its corporate assets to avoid raising council tax and making cuts to services.

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