Old Dereham library plans savaged

Architects were told to go back to the drawing board yesterday as designs for housing on the old Dereham library site were branded “a load of rubbish” and thrown out by councillors.

Architects were told to go back to the drawing board yesterday as designs for housing on the old Dereham library site were branded “a load of rubbish” and thrown out by councillors.

Since the former library in Church Street shut in 2005, Norfolk County Council's property arm has been in discussions with Breckland Council's planners over a redevelopment scheme.

Amendments were made after criticisms of early designs and both parties hoped a compromise had been reached for 10 apartments in two blocks.

The back of the site would have a mix of red brick, render and timber cladding while the building fronting Church Street would be “contemporary design in keeping with the surrounding area”.

But at yesterday's Breckland development control committee members voted 14-0 to refuse the scheme and ask the county council to come back with a design for a “landmark building.”

They want the block facing the street to be in keeping with the neighbouring Georgian Priory building which is the home to law firm Hood Vores and Allwood.

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Councillor Bill Borrett led the attack on the design: “I think it is a load of rubbish and I am horrified by it.”

Development control committee chairman Elizabeth Gould said: “I think it is rather a shame we are putting a Suffolk barn in a Norfolk street.”

An obviously frustrated Jonathon Green, of NPS Property Services, said the agents had been discussing the designs with planning officers for two and a half years and some of the issues the councillors now wanted had been initially suggested but ruled out.

Principal planning officer Nick Moys said “significant changes” had been made to the original designs and they were now supported by the historic buildings officer.

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