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Hunstanton's Richmond House in Westgate another hotel set to be transformed in town



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Since the end of World War Two the Hunstanton landscape has undergone a steady transformation. This is especially the case when it comes to the way inhabitants are housed.

Buildings that were once hotels, nursing homes, or schools, have been demolished and/or converted into flats and apartments.

The latest hotel to go before the planners is Richmond House at the lower end of Westgate, very convenient for the railway station, if we still had one! The fact we have not been connected to the national rail network since 1969 is just one of the factors in the case for refusing planning permission to convert the premises into fifteen residential units.

Smithdon High School.
Smithdon High School.

The exorbitant cost of running a car these days might increase the number of people willing to move into a flat with no parking facilities, but it is just as likely that the switch to electric vehicles will eventually create a demand for charging points as well as parking spaces!

Lack of parking spaces is just one reason for opposing the application, but it is also a good reason for asking the county council to do more than simply pay lip service to Greenways (a strip of undeveloped land near an urban area), which could include new railway lines in addition to footpaths and cycleways.

The urgent need for Greenways in West Norfolk, was the message delivered on the front page of last Tuesday’s Lynn News by Rob Colwell, the Liberal Democrat county councillor for Gaywood South. This reminded me of a meeting attended by Civic Society members in Hunstanton’s Heritage Centre, when it was housed at 15 The Green.

Sandringham Hotel: another Hunstanton hotel building that no longer remains, says Turnstone.
Sandringham Hotel: another Hunstanton hotel building that no longer remains, says Turnstone.

It was here that county council representatives produced a map showing how the track bed of the Lynn to Hunstanton railway line would need to be acquired from numerous private owners, before anything remotely resembling a Greenway connecting the two towns could be established.

It must have been so much easier back in 1862, when Henry le Strange was able to trade shares in his railway company for any land that he did not already own, which would be needed in order to complete the line to Lynn.

The story relating to 160 homes to be erected on land east of the A149, still owned by Henry’s successors, prompts me to speculate on the possibility of land adjacent to this ‘housing with care’ estate, being developed to provide the terminus of a 21st century railway from Lynn.

Henry le Strange.
Henry le Strange.

If a replacement hospital for Lynn is given the priority it deserves, the railway could have a station on the hospital campus, thereby reducing the number of car parking spaces required.

In case the le Strange Trustees, or the planners, lack the vision or the means to make this possible, it is to be hoped the design adopted for this residential development will be influenced by its rural location and the ruined chapel to the south; not by Smithdon High School to the north!

And for goodness sake let’s have plenty of trees and wildlife habitat round the perimeter of the development, with or without a railway station dedicated to Henry le Strange...



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