Shannocks site scheme approved despite fears of a 'missed opportunity'
- Credit: Chris Taylor
Work will finally begin this summer on reviving the barren site where a seaside hotel once stood.
The latest plans for redeveloping the land previously occupied by Sheringham's Shannocks hotel were approved despite concerns that they could negatively impact local businesses.
An earlier planning application was granted in 2018 for six flats, plus shops, restaurants and takeaway over three floors.
But the developer had sought changes, including an additional two flats at the site, plus a merger of the ground-floor food space into one larger unit and the removal of a first-floor restaurant.
A North Norfolk District Council planning officer said the developer, Huddies, was hoping to start building by June 2022 and have the project completed by the following year.
However, concerns about the plans were raised by councillor Liz Withington and the town council, which said the merged space would be too large for a takeaway.
A statement read out on Ms Withington's behalf argued such a large takeaway would contravene council policy and would not be in keeping with other businesses in the town.
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She said: “The nature of Sheringham high street with smaller single units encourages and supports independent retailers.
“A large unit, with the associated cost, may only be viable when operated by a retail chain.”
Ms Withington also argued having a restaurant on the first floor would allow for views over the concrete sea wall.
The Liberal Democrat councillor branded the lack of first-floor restaurant a "missed opportunity" that could have helped make Sheringham an all-year-round destination.
However, the plans were unanimously approved by NNDC's development committee on Thursday.
Lib Dem councillor Richard Kershaw said it was good to see the site, which has been vacant for more than a decade, being developed.
Mr Kershaw said: “I think this does support the tourist offer. Other businesses might be wary of it but maybe it helps them up their offer.
“We’re looking to improve the seaside facilities and I think this goes a long way to doing that.”
What happened to the Shannocks?
The site of the former hotel was left a wasteland after it was demolished in May last year.
Before being knocked down the decaying seafront hotel had stood vacant for more than a decade.
The hotel occupied a prime spot at the top of the town's High Street for more than a century. It was originally called the Sea View Hotel and later the Shannocks, before closing down as the No.1 Bistro Bar.
Huddies' redevelopment is to include flats and commercial units. The plans were approved in 2017, but delays led to the council making a compulsory purchase order on the building in January 2020.
Following further negotiations and delays in part due to the pandemic, the demolition was finally able to proceed.