Market town car park opens - after three year delay

Hornbeam Road carpark North Walsham

The carpark at Hornbeam Rd in North Walsham has been fenced off since 2019 - but could finally open next month. - Credit: Google

A council car park will finally open to the public next month - three years after it was built.

Work on the Hornbeam Road car park in North Walsham was finished in 2019 but a series of hold-ups and the onset of the pandemic meant it never became operational.

Most recently, the facility has been used as a coronavirus testing site but this is set to close later this month.

The council is keen to get the car park open because a series of works planned for the town centre will reduce parking facilities elsewhere.

The plans include a new bus interchange on the New Road car park as well as wider footpaths and a reduction in short-stay parking spaces in the market.

Councillor Richard Kershaw, portfolio holder for sustainable growth at North Norfolk District Council.

Councillor Richard Kershaw, portfolio holder for sustainable growth at North Norfolk District Council. - Credit: NNDC

A report to the cabinet ahead of a meeting on Monday said the Hornbeam Road site could meet the need for more parking "at no significant cost to the council".

Nigel Lloyd, cabinet member for environmental services and North Walsham's ward councillor, said he was pleased to see the car park used for Covid testing but now was the time for it to be open to the public.

He said: “It is only right that we provide provision while we temporarily remove some of the parking in the town centre for people to still visit our town and park. 

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“I’m particularly pleased we will offer it as a free facility.” 

North Norfolk District Council member Nigel Lloyd

North Norfolk District Council member Nigel Lloyd - Credit: Archant

Richard Kershaw, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) cabinet member for sustainable growth, said the free parking would be in place until the end of the year.

Later this year, NNDC's officers will bring forward proposals to introduce permanent charges at the site.

The car park is next to the town's train station and part of the wider mixed-use development of the former HL Foods factory site by Hopkins Homes. 

The 50-space facility is intended to serve an increasing number of rail passengers in the future. 

The plan was unanimously approved.