MP fights to end impasse over Hoveton ‘slums’
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has stepped up his campaign to smarten up two sites at the heart of a Broads tourism hotspot which have been compared to inner city slums.
He is calling for a fresh meeting with all interested parties to address the issue of the derelict Broads Hotel in Station Road, Hoveton, and boarded up buildings - formerly the Riverside Rooms and outbuildings of the King's Head - on the other side of the road.
Mr Lamb, who has received an 'enormous' mailbag from local residents calling for action, said he was hopeful progress was already being made on the second site, the responsibility of The Orchid Group chain which runs the King's Head.
He said: 'They have written to me and said they would be happy to meet and discuss whether it is possible to find a community use for the buildings.
'As an interim measure that would be vastly better than the buildings being locked up and derelict and the site overgrown - and the potential is fantastic for a site right by the river.'
Regarding the Broads Hotel, which is fire damaged with broken windows, Mr Lamb said he would be pressing for it to be tided up until planning consent could be agreed for a replacement use.
Jon Herbert, who owns the hotel, said he had come forward with plans to North Norfolk council several times. His latest negotiations over building 17 apartments were 'looking quite favourable' and he was hopeful of submitting a planning application in the next few weeks.
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Mr Herbert, both a Norfolk county and South Norfolk councillor, ruled out spending money on the site until he was granted planning permission.
Although his previous planning application for apartments was rejected partly on the grounds that a tourism use should be retained he insisted the hotel had lost its viability.
However, local district councillor Nigel Dixon said the tourism economy had to be protected and the demand for tourist accommodation was likely to grow following the submission of plans for a model museum in the village, aiming to attract 60,000 annual visitors.