New car park opened in bid to end Burnham Market jams

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Decades of debate about the need for more parking in the village known as ‘Chelsea-on-Sea’ may have ended after a new car park was opened at the weekend.

The 186-space pay and display facility in Burnham Market is part of a multi-million pound complex which also incorporates 33 new houses, including six affordable homes, plus three retail units.

The site was officially opened by North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham yesterday.

Sir Henry said Burnham Market was “an exceptional village and a little jewel in North Norfolk”, before touring the site.

And parish council chairman Geoff Hanley said: “We’ve discussing the need for a car park since the 1980’s. It’s the biggest project in the village for ages.”

At the same time as the official opening yellow no-parking lines were being painted along roads in and around the Market Place.

However, there will still be a number of free parking spaces, with stays limited to 45 minutes’ duration.

Over the years, various sites in the village have been mooted as suitable, the first a field offered to the parish council by a local farmer in the late 1970s. The offer was not taken up on cost grounds.

The car park is part of a larger Fleur Hill development, a joint enterprise between a Cromer-based Norfolk company and an Essex company based just off North Street and only yards from the Market Place.

And officials hope the site, which will be managed by the borough council, will bring relief to a village centre long choked by nose-to-bumper vehicles clustered around the Market Place’s seven greens.

The centre is an attractive mix of period properties, enhanced by the removal of all telephone and electricity wires and poles some years back.

Its popularity led to the development of a wide range of shops and businesses, a hotel and places to eat, which draw many thousands of visitors each year.

Representatives of the builders and developers, the county council, borough council and parish council sheltered from heavy rain under umbrellas during the opening.

Those present also included the village’s county councillor, Richard Bird, and Burnham ward borough councillor, Sam Sandell.

Fleur managing director, Joff Brooker, said it was a significant moment not only for Foundry Field, the name of the development, but the village as a whole.

He added that they had set out to design car park that would benefit the whole village using sympathetic materials of a high quality.