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Councillors reject their own council’s proposal to build a restaurant and holiday apartments in Wells

PUBLISHED: 12:09 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09 17 February 2017

An artist's impression of the proposed development at Wells. Picture: NNDC

An artist's impression of the proposed development at Wells. Picture: NNDC

NNDC

Opponents to a controversial restaurant and holiday apartments scheme in Wells are celebrating after district councillors rejected their own council’s proposals to build them.

The matter is not yet finished, however, and the plans will be discussed further by cabinet members, who have previously voted in favour of them.

Opponents to a controversial restaurant and holiday apartments scheme in Wells are celebrating after district councillors rejected their own council’s proposals to build them.

The matter is not yet finished, however, and the plans will be discussed further by cabinet members, who have previously voted in favour of them.

Members of North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC’s) overview and scrutiny committee have voted against progressing detailed plans for the development.

They, instead, voted in favour of a motion that “a commitment is made to a full and proper consultation with Wells Town Council and the local community with a view to any development on the site.”

This motion was carried by five votes to three.

The overview and scrutiny committee’s recommendation will go back to NNDC’s cabinet. It is due to be discussed at a meeting on March 6, which is open to the public.

The vote follows a heated extraordinary town meeting, called by Wells Town Council, on Monday night.

NNDC has put forward proposals to build a 100-seat restaurant and holiday apartments at the site of the public toilets at the town end of Beach Road, Wells.

If approved, new toilets will be built.

More than 200 members of the public attended Monday’s meeting and expressed strong concerns that a 100-seat restaurant would not be in-keeping with a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Some have questioned the morality of using public money to set up a business to compete against existing traders.

Concerns over increased traffic were also discussed.

Judy Oliver, NNDC cabinet member for corporate assets and commercialisation, said: “It is very much early days in the long-term process of looking at options for making better use of our assets across the district.

“This is vital if we are to meet the funding gap from 2020/21 onwards, following the removal of all central government funding.

“At this stage it’s a case of the council considering options and listening to all views in order that we can make the best possible decisions as to ways of generating future income.

“Nothing has been decided yet and we hope that people across the district will make their views known.

“We need to do what is best in the interests of all our residents and find ways to increase our income in order to keep taxes as low as possible and maintain our services.

“We also hope that commercialising our assets will produce valuable benefits for our residents such as new homes, or facilities that both visitors and residents can use and enjoy.

“Before any projects go ahead there will be public consultation and the opportunity to offer views through the normal planning process.

“It’s also important to stress that any artists’ impressions produced to date are only indicative and are by no means showing a fully developed planning application.”

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