Plans for the regeneration of Lynn’s riverfront are a chance to solve wider transport issues affecting the whole town, council chiefs say.
A £350,000 funding package to enable further development of the project was approved at a West Norfolk Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
But a senior county transport official has warned a “robust” case would have to be made before current rules governing the use of a restricted road in the area could be relaxed.
A 48-page delivery plan for the area has been published, setting out a vision for more than 400 new homes, extra retail space and new access points to areas such as the Nar Loop.
The document says the plan is intended to “enable the development of long-term unutilised sites into a vibrant and economically active waterfront.”
Deputy leader Elizabeth Nockolds told the meeting: “This has always been our long-term ambition.
“We’ve improved the northern part of the town centre, we’re looking after our heritage buildings and this plan will enhance this area and encourage more people to come to our town.”
Environment portfolio holder Ian Devereux added: “I see few opportunities other than this to actually alleviate some of the worst areas of pollution to the north and east of this area.”
But independent councillor Charles Joyce voiced concerns about the scale of the proposed housing development, both on the riverfront and around the town as a whole, and the provision of services, particularly the provision of GP practices, for the area.
He added: “I can’t really see how anything almost anything you do on the riverfront will have a major benefit to the north and east of the town.”
Ahead of the meeting, officials of the Hardings Pits Community Association urged cabinet members to reconsider the plan to open Hardings Way, which is currently only accessible to buses, cyclists and pedestrians, to all traffic, as part of the project.
They also provided a letter from Tom McCabe, Norfolk County Council’s executive director of community and environmental services, which said there were several issues relating to transport and parking that would need “detailed consideration.”
He added: “The case for the introduction of two-way traffic on Hardings Way would need to be robustly made.
“It will need to clearly define the benefits and satisfactorily address all the other negative issues with appropriate mitigation and be based on robust evidence and assessment work.”
But council leader Brian Long said the association’s letter, along with correspondence from the St Margarets and St Nicholas ward forum was “premature” as full details had not been finalised.
Jemma Curtis, the council’s regeneration programmes manager, added that a full transport assessment would be undertaken as part of any subsequent planning application.