Sheringham councillor: We couldn’t replace the Shannocks with The Shard

How the Shard would look against the former Shannocks Hotel in Sheringham. Picture: Sarah Richards/M

How the Shard would look against the former Shannocks Hotel in Sheringham. Picture: Sarah Richards/Mark Bullimore - Credit: Sarah Richards/Mark Bullimore

Council chiefs have reconfirmed their commitment to cleaning up an eyesore on the seafront in Sheringham - by committing almost £500,000 of their budget to the compulsory purchase of the former Shannocks Hotel.

However, North Norfolk District Council revealed it had received a mixed response to its plans to redevelop the site and neighbouring car park into nine apartments and ground-floor commercial units following a public exhibition.

The hotel's owner, Huddies, is currently drawing up an alternative planning proposal for the site.

Sheringham councillor Judy Oliver said: 'We can't put something in that's not going to get planning permission, so we couldn't have a plan for a Shard there because it wouldn't get planning (permission).'

But she added: 'Because we own the car park next door, any inspector would assume there would be a marriage value between the car park and the site.'

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The Shard is a 95-storey skyscraper in London which boasts the capital's highest viewing platform and has become a visitor attraction following its opening.

Councillor Oliver said: 'The plan that we put forward and consulted on is to support the CPO, it doesn't mean that's going to be built out. We need a plan that shows we can give best value to the owner of the site should a compulsory purchase order go for confirmation. Consultation was very mixed, a lot of people have different views.'

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The council revealed it could stop the compulsory purchase order at any time if the current site owners were seen to be taking action to tidy up the area.

However, while the site remains unoccupied, the local authority revealed it could prevent development elsewhere in the town.

Councillor Oliver, also the council's deputy leader, said: 'There are three stages - we hope the owner would do it. Over 15 years he hasn't done it. That doesn't mean he won't do it now but it's not looking very promising because of the time.

'Secondly, try to buy it as a voluntary offer at a fair price and if that fails we're in a position to make a compulsory purchase order. That's a long process which could take 18 months.'

But council leader Tom FitzPatrick added: 'We're prepared, if necessary, to go as far as compulsory purchase.'

Huddies stated in December that it is currently drawing up an alternative planning proposal on the site.

A company spokesman said: 'Having received a response to our submission from the planning department, we expect to submit a full planning application in the coming weeks. We are therefore surprised that NNDC continues to develop and advertise its alternative proposals.'

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