'Ugly' seafront shipping container rejected by planners

Sup Shack, a paddle board hire business that was launched in Sheringham in 2020 by Lewis Gray and Sam James

Sup Shack, a paddle board hire business that was launched in Sheringham in 2020 by Lewis Gray and Sam James has lodged an application to install a semi-permanent shipping container on the town's west promenade. - Credit: Lewis Gray

A paddleboard company's bid to put a shipping container on Sheringham promenade has been branded “the right business in the wrong place” by planners.  

On Thursday, North Norfolk District Council's development committee considered the Sup Shack application. 

The business was launched last summer by Lewis Gray and Sam James, who wanted to use the container, which measures 6m x 2.4m x 2.4m, to store their equipment between April and September. 

The idea has split public opinion, with the council receiving 15 letters objecting to it, and 20 in favour. 

A report to councillors ahead of the meeting recommended turning down the plans because the container would be an "incongruous form of development which would fail to conserve the special qualities and local distinctiveness of the area". 

Among the objections was Stephen Pegg from Sheringham Town Council, who said: “The man on the street will view [this application] as a blot on the landscape, it will stick out like a proverbial sore thumb.” 

Sup Shack, a paddle board hire business that was launched in Sheringham in 2020 by Lewis Gray and Sam James

Sup Shack on Sheringham seafront - Credit: Lewis Gray

Mr Gray, who spoke to the planning committee, said he took Mr Pegg’s point and they had considered other locations but they needed to be close to the seafront in case of emergencies. 

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Committee members were sympathetic to the business, with Angie Fitch-Tillett calling it a "huge tourist offer” but the chair said it was the container and not Sup Schack that was the subject for the committee. 

Shipping containers were branded “ugly” by councillor Paul Heinrich, who said: “While I understand the wish to expand, I am not convinced that a semi-permanent container is ideal. 

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“The idea that there is a similar thing on Cromer Seafront is irrelevant because Cromer Seafront is much wider. 

“I would like to support small businesses as much as possible but I can’t do that at the expense of the landscape and the wider aspects of tourism.” 

Nine councillors voted to reject the application, two in support and one abstained. 

Head of planning Philip Rowson said the council was willing to work with the applicants and the town council to find a better solution. 

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