‘Unsightly empty plot’ or ‘vital parking spaces’ - Which is it?

The land when it was used as a car park. Picture: Google Street Maps

The land when it was used as a car park. Picture: Google Street Maps - Credit: Archant

Community leaders are objecting to a potential loss of car parking spaces in a north Norfolk town.

Plans have been lodged to build a terrace of four three-storey buildings on a vacant car park site, near Tesco, in Stalham.

The land, at the junction of Old Market Road and Upper Staithe Road, was previously used by Tesco staff, before it was sold.

Before that, it was used as parking for visitors to the former doctor's surgery.

Jeremy Baverstock, on behalf of Stalham Area Business Forum, said: 'Tesco staff now park in the main car park where users of the High Street were granted free access when planning for a supermarket on the Old Market site was granted in 2001, reducing its capacity by 30 spaces.

'The application to build four three-storey houses on the staff car park is another quick profit for a developer at the expense of Stalham's employment and amenities.

'The site needs to be kept as car parking in support of the High Street. Stalham needs support, not sabotage.'

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Stalham Town Council is also objecting to the application. It said on North Norfolk District Council's planning website: 'The council considers this land should be retained for parking to support the sustainability of the High Street in Stalham.

'Significant amounts of money are granted to towns in north Norfolk to support the high street and this proposal would have a negative impact.'

A member of the public posted: 'The housing proposed under this application will remove vital parking spaces required to ensure that the town's economy can continue to grow and expand.'

A planning, design and access statement prepared by Broadland Architectural, on behalf of the applicant Sue Gomes, of Ranworth, states that it is an 'unsightly empty plot', and adds that 'there is no need for car parking in this area of Stalham'.

It continues: 'The existing plot is a redundant car park of varying historic uses, no longer offering any benefit either for the owners of the site or the town of Stalham in general.'

It says the proposal would also be 'beneficial to increasing the much-needed housing stock'.