Turnstone by John Maiden, November 4, 2014

Hunstanton flats
Hunstanton flats
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On last Tuesday’s letters page in the Lynn News Edward Wheatley, proud to call himself a NIMBY, asked: “What benefit would more homes bring to the average resident?”

Having witnessed the town’s footprint grow enormously over the past 50 years, I have come to the conclusion that Hunstanton has become less attractive as a place in which to live and work, because much of the new housing is unsympathetic to its original architecture.

The red brick apartment blocks along Cliff Parade and at the junction of Northgate and Victoria Avenue are typical examples of this utilitarian approach to new housing developments.

They fail to protect or enhance the character and appearance of their surroundings.

On the same page David Newman makes the mistake of assuming that high standards of design and the use of local carstone are responsible for pricing low paid workers out of the housing market.

The reason why young people cannot get a foot on the housing ladder has its origins in the era when local authorities were forced to sell council houses at less than their market value, but were not allowed to spend the money on building new houses in their place available to rent.

Housing associations and private landlords are not meeting the resulting shortfall and the price of land has gone up astronomically since 1968, when building plots were available on the Redgate Estate for as little as £800 each.

In order to make 20 ‘affordable’ or ‘social’ homes available, planning permission has to be granted for 100 new homes.

In a seaside town such as Hunstanton, many of these properties will become second homes or used for letting as holiday homes.

The best we can hope for is that where development is permitted, it does not put too much demand on the existing infrastructure, or add to traffic congestion on the A149.

It was for this reason that Hunstanton Town Council objected to a development of 200 new homes in Heacham, that would have had to use the A149 to access the village centre.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, to find Heacham Parish Council objecting to a development of 166 new homes on land south of Hunstanton for very similar reasons.

The only surprise is that Hunstanton Town Council supports the development while professing to share the concerns of objectors as far as vehicular access to the site via Heacham and the A149 is concerned.