Parking plan in gear again

After several false starts and lots of stalling along the way, plans to build a new cark park in a north Norfolk market town are in gear once again.Councillors on North Norfolk District Council's Combined Development Control Committee yesterday approved plans to build a 400 space car park on the outskirts of Holt.

plans to build a new cark park at Holt are back in gear.

North Norfolk District Council's combined development control committee has approved plans to build a 400-space park on an outskirts site off Thornage Road. But it may still be some time before the sound of excavators is heard there.

Councillors delegated final approval to officers, who are awaiting more information, and further consultation may be required on drainage and other issues before final approval.

The council chamber in Cromer was packed with both councillors and local people on Thursday for the debate on the application, which has set environmentalists against traders. But supporters insist it is the only feasible site.

During public speeches, one resident accused the car park's opponents of pursuing “a very narrow and doomed agenda”, while an opponent called the application “opportunist, reactive and parochial”.

Town clerk Di Dann highlighted fears that parking problems were putting people off going to the town. She said it was unlikely that, if the scheme were rejected, the prospect of a privately-funded car park would be available on any other site.

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Resident Carola Sutton said: “More and more houses are being built in Holt without parking. Without this car park Holt will be one large traffic blockage and we will only have ourselves to blame. I think this council has got to stop acting like ostriches and come to a decision.”

But Paul Stevenson, from Thornage, said he was alarmed at the lack of investigations, assessments and impact studies that had been carried out. And Ian Shepherd, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, and others voiced concerns that the site was inappropriate and said the countryside must be preserved for future generations.

It is the second time the application has come before councillors. It was initially approved in January 2006, but alterations to comply with conditions meant it had to go back to the planning committee.