Plans for new car park in Holt look set to be put on hold
Plans for a new public car park in a busy market town look set to be put on hold amid concerns the facility would not pay its way.
Planning permission has been granted for the 385 space car park in Holt that could potentially ease long standing congestion problems in the town.
But officials at North Norfolk District Council, which would have managed the Thornage Road site, now consider the scheme a financial risk.
It follows news that up to 160 additional spaces could be provided in the north Norfolk town, which is a popular shopping and tourist destination.
A new Aldi supermarket due to open next year, on Old Station Way. will provide an extra 83 spaces with three hours free parking aimed at allowing shoppers time to visit the town centre.
Gresham's School has submitted a planning application for a 84 space pay and display car park on Church Street and Holt Town Council is proposing to operate a public car park at a disused Duck Farm site on Cley Road.
District council leader Tom FitzPatrick said: 'This has been an issue for all the time I have been a councillor. There has been a perception that existing car parking in Holt is not sufficient to meet demand.
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'It is important to see how the current proposals come along. There is going to be another new car park near the centre of town and if that does not address the position we will look at it again.'
He added: 'The prudent thing is not to make any investment at this time and keep the situation under review. We are not saying never, we are saying not now.'
Thornage Road site owner Graham Chapman approached the council over running the car park as a joint venture after securing planning permission for the scheme.
However, a report for council leaders ahead of a cabinet meeting on January 5 says the development of alternative car parks closer to the town centre could reduce its viability.
The report also outlines an option for installing an additional portable parking 'deck' above its existing car park at Station Yard.
Annual revenue from the town's other council owned car park on Albert Street was £182,178 in 2014-15, the highest in the district.
Holt town councillor Ray Moore said: 'Holt has a big car parking problem, so for the district council to pull out completely from Thornage Road without organising an alternative is unfortunate. The site first had planning permission six or seven years ago and situation has not improved since.'