Stalham Town Council has fortnight to decide whether to buy old station yard site

Stalham Town Council will decide in the next fortnight whether to buy a key area of land at the town's prominent northern gateway.

Norfolk County Council has put a �250,000 price tag on its old station yard site and has given Stalham first refusal until September 15.

Town councillors will either cast their votes at their ordinary meeting on September 3, or at a possible extraordinary meeting on September 5, both in the church rooms, behind St Mary's Parish Church, at 7.30pm.

Town council clerk Judith Howes said she had contacted all members asking if they wanted the extraordinary meeting purely to discuss the possible purchase and was waiting for replies. Unless all agreed to the date, the decision would have to be made on September 3.

The council, which has had its own, undisclosed valuation of the site carried out, has been investigating borrowing money from the Public Works Loans Board, repayable over five, 10, 15 or 20 years.

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It fears that a developer could snap up the land, which has remained undeveloped for at least 15 years, for high-density housing.

But some councillors are worried about the impact on residents' wallets.

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If the town council borrowed a large sum to buy the site, it would have to increase its precept to recover the cash from local council-tax payers. The rise could range from �25-�100 per year.

Only a dozen residents returned questionnaires, asking for their views, which were delivered by the town council to 1,600 Stalham households earlier in the year.

North Norfolk District Council currently leases part of the site as a public car park.

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