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

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.”

2 comments

  • A billing authority forces ratepayers to pay council tax, coercing them with the threat of prison, in the same way that a Mafioso might coerce businesses and homeowners to pay with the threat of property damage. One threatens liberty, the other threatens property. The difference is that money coerced from ratepayers should be spent to provide services for the local community. If, instead of providing services, this Conservative-led Council now intend to use ratepayer’s money, extorted under the threat of prison, to build a large property developer portfolio for themselves in a way that is strongly opposed by the local community, takes away facilities, damages towns and harms the profitability of local businesses, then are they really any better than gangsters?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    ReallyRural

    Friday, February 17, 2017

  • Personally, I am not in favour of councils trying to be businesses or developers in the name of the taxpayer, invariably these sort of projects end up costing the taxpayer, not saving them or making them any money.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    eastangliantrier

    Friday, February 17, 2017

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