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Plan for rural north Norfolk offices approved

PUBLISHED: 13:46 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:47 01 October 2020

The new office will be in an old barn on site Worstead Farms already occupies. Image: Google Maps

The new office will be in an old barn on site Worstead Farms already occupies. Image: Google Maps

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An application to convert a grade II listed barn in the north Norfolk countryside into offices for dozens of workers has been approved, despite concerns over the extra traffic the development may cause.

Nigel Dixon, councillor on North Norfolk District Council, has raised concerns over an application for an office at Smallburgh. Picture: NNDCNigel Dixon, councillor on North Norfolk District Council, has raised concerns over an application for an office at Smallburgh. Picture: NNDC

The plans will see a 19th-century former threshing barn at Church Farm in Smallburgh, near Stalham, renovated into an open-plan office with 32 desk spaces, meetings rooms and 18 car parking spaces.

North Norfolk District Council’s planning development committee met to consider the plans on Thursday, October 1, which although recommended for approval, had received objections over sustainability, based on the volume of traffic the new offices may attract.

Gavin Paterson, representing the applicant, Worstead Farms, said: “This application is concerned with the protection of a beautiful red brick barn not suitable for agricultural or residential use situated on a working farmyard.”

Mr Paterson said six of the offices created by the development would be used by people who already worked on the site, while the others would be let to another business.

Richard Kershaw North Norfolk District Councillor. Picture: Richard KershawRichard Kershaw North Norfolk District Councillor. Picture: Richard Kershaw

He said: “We believe that the site is safely and well connected to major roads and is of such small scale it cannot materially burden the local road network.

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“We believed that the benefits of saving a beautiful barn and boosting the local employment and economy outstrip the concerns around sustainability.”

Councillor Nigel Dixon said he felt the location of the barn to narrow roads made the development “an unsustainable location for a business centre”.

Mr Dixon said: “I fully support highways and the parish council objections on sustainability grounds...The parish council and myself are clear that while the impact of the traffic may not be severe it will certainly be detrimental to road safety.”

However the majority of councillors supported the application.

Councillor Richard Kershaw, said: “I don’t think this is a business centre I think this is a office where people will come to work in the morning and not actually see clients, this is to support the agricultural sector in East Anglia.

“I welcome smaller businesses moving into the countryside and I find the restoration of a grade II barn to be advantageous.”

The application was approved by a vote of 11:2


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