New twist in Cromer bus station saga

A long-running battle over the future of Cromer bus station has taken another twist - after the High Court ordered that a planning inquiry about the controversial site should be re-heard.

A long-running battle over the future of Cromer bus station has taken another twist - after the High Court ordered that a planning inquiry about the controversial site should be re-heard.

Developers Ortona want to build a shop and 12 flats on the Prince of Wales Road site, which has been shut for three years.

Local campaigners however opposed the move, and wanted the bus station saved as a public transport hub.

The plans were refused by North Norfolk District Council and Ortona's appeal was rejected by a planning inspector.


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But the company took the matter to the High Court, which has quashed the ruling because of the inspector's

'possible unconscious bias' as a former planning policy officer at Norfolk County Council, one of the main objectors.

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Government lawyers were trying to get the decision upheld through the Appeal Court, arguing that the clash was expected and unavoidable and that the inspector could be trusted to apply policy he had been involved in formulating.

But the planning inspector has confirmed the High Court judgement stands - so the case will be re-heard with a different inspector.

Letters from the planning inspectorate to the people involved however stress 'this does not necessarily mean that our original decision will be reversed.'

The hearing could happen before the end of the year, but it still prolongs the uncertainty about the site - where the county council is still hoping to negotiate a new �300,000 bus station, and is prepared to carry out compulsory purchase if necessary.

Canon Derek Elton, one of the bus station campaigners and a member of Cromer's Environmental Action Group, said they were confident there was still a strong case for keeping the bus station at the busy resort.

More and more people were using the buses, particularly with the rise in stay-at-home vacations.

Streetside stops around town did not provide any cover for passengers, and when buses waited at Cadogan Road it caused traffic congestion.

'We will do our best to repeat a strong case,' he added.

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