Residents and businesses to be consulted over future of Fakenham’s free Highfield Road Car Park

Highfield Road Car Park in Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Highfield Road Car Park in Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Business owners and residents in Fakenham will be able to have their say on the future of a popular car park which is at risk of being developed on.

Town mayor Adrian Vertigan said the town council believes North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), which owns Highfield Road Car Park, will put in initial plans for an over 55s apartment block for the land by the end of May 2017.

The car park is used by shop workers in the town, visitors and Church Lane residents.

Mr Vertigan is part of a new working party, made up of six town councillors and two district councillors, set up to consult townsfolk on what they want for the future of the car park.

The working party also wants to communicate directly with the district council about the car park.

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Mr Vertigan said: 'We realise NNDC can decide what it wants to do with Highfield Road Car Park. We as a working party want to make sure Fakenham gets what is best for the town rather than having something thrust upon it which residents and businesses do not like.'

The working party hopes to carry out a community consultation around the town by the end of April to coincide with the predicted NNDC plans for the plot.

People will be able to fill out the consultation through the town council website The document will also be available in businesses throughout the town.

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Highfield Road Car Park has been a transport hub for many years and until early last year, before the introduction of weight restrictions, it was used by coaches and lorries.

These large vehicles can no longer park in the town which has affected some businesses, according to Mr Vertigan.

Mr Vertigan said it was well-used by shop workers, often on low wages, who travelled into Fakenham.

He accepted it cost a lot to maintain, but said: 'The space should reman as a transport hub, in an ideal world.'

The mayor admitted there was nothing the town council could do to reverse the district council's position.

The town council ran the car park for two years from 2012-14 and maintenance costs were £4,000 and £5,000 a year.

'We are trying to work out what the town really wants and want to engage with NNDC.'

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