Developer plans for 250 homes on old Pontins site in Hemsby

PUBLISHED: 10:26 12 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:27 12 September 2014

The former Pontins holiday centre site in Hemsby. 
April 2013.

Picture: James Bass

The former Pontins holiday centre site in Hemsby. April 2013. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2013

New plans to build homes on a derelict holiday camp in Hemsby have kicked up fresh fears over the impact of large housing developments.

The former Pontins holiday centre site in Hemsby. 
April 2013.

Picture: James Bass The former Pontins holiday centre site in Hemsby. April 2013. Picture: James Bass

Persimmon Homes is holding a public exhibition on Wednesday, unveiling their plans to put housing on the old Pontin’s holiday camp in Beach Road.

The 2,440-capacity site with 512 run-down chalets has been empty since 2008 when Pontins closed it “following a period of sustained operating losses”. There has been public concern over its future ever since. Nine months ago, Great Yarmouth Borough Council used legal powers to force the landowner Northern Trust to clean up the eyesore. There were plans to put homes on the site back in 2011 but the scheme was pulled in January 2012 following heated objections from residents.

This time, Persimmon Homes - one of the biggest developers of new homes in the UK - is inviting residents to give their views on their proposal.

The exhibition of plans will be held at the pavilion on Hemsby Playing Field from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday.

Andrew Fuller, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia, said: “We want to give local people the opportunity to fully understand what we aim to deliver at Hemsby and allow them to air their views, before we submit any planning application.

“Initial proposals are for around 250 properties. As a responsible builder, we want to be certain that local residents have had a full opportunity to contribute to our plans so we look forward to receiving their suggestions at the public exhibition meeting.”

Glen Taylor, chairman of Hemsby Parish Council, said: “Until the plans are there, no one can say what they feel about them one way or the other.

“But I think people are going to have to wake up and smell the coffee. We are a holiday resort but whether the industry will come back like it used to be, I don’t know.”

Borough councillor Shirley Weymouth questioned whether Hemsby had the infrastructure to cope with a large housing development, adding that it remains council policy for the “prime” site to remain as holiday provision.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is part-way through updating it’s borough-wide housing and land-use policy. The cross-party vision for growth over the next 15 years is set out in a document called the Core Strategy, part of the legally-binding Local Plan.

Before the Local Plan, which is currently being looked at by the national Planning Inspector, comes into force, the council has an interim policy which guides all planning decisions and should protect land set aside for specific use, such as holiday or retail.

But councillor George Jermany, who represents the East Flegg ward, voiced concern that large developers are pushing forward with plans before the permanent policy comes into force.

“I’m a member of the Beach Road association and I think we all agree that we’re a holiday village and that is a prime holiday site,” he said.

nSee more on this story in today’s Great Yarmouth Mercury.

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