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Holt car park scheme in jeopardy

PUBLISHED: 10:25 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:49 13 July 2010

A long-awaited car park scheme at Holt could be jeopardy as environmental concerns mount against the project.

After years of searching for a potential site, and two years of planning setbacks, plans for a new 400 space car park will go before North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) planning panel again next week, where it faces several major hurdles which could put the long-awaited scheme in jeopardy.

A long-awaited car park scheme at Holt could be jeopardy as environmental concerns mount against the project.

After years of searching for a potential site, and two years of planning setbacks, plans for a new 400 space car park will go before North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) planning panel again next week, where it faces several major hurdles which could put the long-awaited scheme in jeopardy.

While traders and other supporters say the facility is urgently needed to avoid traffic chaos and gridlock and allow the market town to thrive, opponents claim the car park would be an environmental blunder for the sake of commercial interest.

The scheme for the green field site lies off Thornage Road near the bypass roundabout and 10 minutes walk from the town centre. It was initially approved in January 2006, but alterations to the plans mean it must be considered again.

As they did last time, planning officers at the council are set recommend refusal.

The council's landscape officer has also raised serious concerns and the Environment Agency is objecting, saying the car park would pose a flood risk.

Council planning officer Gary Linder said: “It is contrary to policy because it is in open countryside and we believe it would adversely affect the conservation area. As officers we have always recommended refusal of the application.”

In a submission to planners, landscape officer Kerys Witton, said more surveys were needed and there were concerns about the impact on wildlife.

She said: “It is clear the scheme has been led by the availability of land to site a car park and not by the needs of the landscape in general.”

But developer Graham Chapman said he was working to resolve any outstanding issue and would hopefully see a positive conclusion for Holt.

Traders argue the site is the only option left and that there is no plan B.

John Lintott, chairman of Holt District Chamber of Commerce said that while everyone in the town was sensitive to environmental concerns and keen to protect the beauty of Holt the parking problem was undeniable.

He said: “It is significantly putting off visitors and limiting the town's natural expansion.”

Councillors from the planning panel are due to visit the site today ahead of the planning meeting which will be held at the council offices on Holt Road, Cromer, on January 31 and begins at 9.30am.

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