Cromer gipsy site concerns

A gipsy transit site on the edge of Cromer is being earmarked for approval, despite concerns it is eating into scenic countryside.The 10-space scheme off Holt Road is one of two being promoted in north Norfolk to help the authorities deal with seasonal illegal encampments.

A gipsy transit site on the edge of Cromer is being earmarked for approval, despite concerns it is eating into scenic countryside.

The 10-space scheme off Holt Road is one of two being promoted in north Norfolk to help the authorities deal with seasonal illegal encampments.

But the location next to the district council offices has prompted objections from neighbours and a countryside watchdog.

The Norfolk Coast Partnership has voiced concerns about the “creeping encroachment” into an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, saying the aim should be to improve the existing situation “rather than accepting further erosion.”

Not many people live close to the site, but six residents are against, citing other reasons including lack of need, increased traffic, risks it could become a permanent site or spill over on to a neighbouring layby.

They also questioned whether the council officers next door to manage the site would be there under a looming local government shake-up.

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And police officials say the landscaped screening hindered crime prevention, and formed “physical/psychological barriers” which gave the impression of separating rather than integrating the travelling and settled communities.

The lack of lighting also meant there were risks of crime, and health and safety issues such as falls

The site will be debated by North Norfolk District Council's east area development control committee on Thursday.

It will be told by planning officer Andy Mitchell that policy says building in the AONB is not allowed unless it could be proved the benefit outweighed the adverse impact, and it could be shown there was no alternative site.

He said a long-running site search, involving public consultation, showed there was no other site, and the limited views and landscaping meant the plan was acceptable.

Councillors are being asked to give officials the power to approve the scheme after tying up some loose ends, including looking at the police suggestion about adding movement-sensitive lighting.

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