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'Progress, but no guarantees', says Hunstanton Town Council over car park flats proposal

Community leaders in Hunstanton have welcomed moves to address concerns over a contentious housing scheme – but warned they can’t guarantee backing it when revised plans are submitted.

Proposals by West Norfolk Council to build more than 30 flats on part of the Southend Road car park were rejected by its own planning committee in December.

And one of the key sticking points was the anticipated loss of 100 public car parking spaces from the site to make way for the development.

Reduced capacity in Hunstanton's Southend Road car park is a key concern relating to a proposed apartment development.
Reduced capacity in Hunstanton's Southend Road car park is a key concern relating to a proposed apartment development.

Since then, borough council officials have been developing revised proposals on the issue, which were presented to a special town council meeting last night.

The authority is proposing to provide 50 new permanent spaces in the town centre, plus a further 34 that would be available adjacent to the site on busy days, meaning an overall loss of just 16 spaces.

It also argues that its plans for 39 spaces to serve the 32 proposed flats exceed the provision offered at comparable housing developments in the resort.

A document setting out the proposed changes concluded: “The Borough Council considers that it has adequately responded to the previous planning refusal and hopes to obtain a planning consent in the future.”

But some members were still uneasy about the issue as the agenda item relating to the plans invited them to both consider the revised arrangements and “to resolve no further opposition will be put forward from HTC on the grounds of parking loss if a planning application is submitted by BC that reflect these proposed changes.”

Andrew Murray, who spoke against the original scheme at the December planning meeting, said that would tie the town council’s hands when a new scheme is submitted.

Robert Colby argued the plan would go against the provisions of the town’s draft neighbourhood plan.

And Wendy Croucher said: “The Neighbourhood Plan is a Hunstanton Town Council document. If we don’t abide by what we’re saying in that document, we are not being true to ourselves.

Concerns were also raised that any future work to re-line the car park could see even more spaces lost, because of the trend towards larger vehicles.

However, town mayor Tony Bishopp stressed borough officials were only seeking an indication from the town council that the revised parking proposals would be acceptable.

A proposal by Mike Ruston that the town council welcomed the efforts made to address the parking issues, but warning that it could “give no undertakings” as to what conclusions may be reached on a new application, was passed unanimously.

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