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Gorleston seafront cafe plan rejected

PUBLISHED: 19:46 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:45 30 June 2010

Plans to convert the former lifeguard hut into a seaside food and drinks stall were quashed this week

Plans to convert the former lifeguard hut into a seaside food and drinks stall were quashed this week

Controversial plans to turn a lifeguard hut into a seaside food and drinks stall were quashed this week to the relief of campaigners fiercely guarding Gorleston's character.

Controversial plans to turn a lifeguard hut into a seaside food and drinks stall were quashed this week to the relief of campaigners fiercely guarding Gorleston's character.

The decision goes against the recommendation of officers who backed the scheme to allow snacks to be sold from a revamped borough council-owned building, a stone's throw from the popular holiday beach.

Protesters packed the council chamber on Tuesday to witness members of the development control committee vote nine against with three abstentions to the plan submitted by Mr J Formosa.

Concerns ranged from over-development to littering and long opening hours triggering a 627-signature petition and 47 letters of objection.

Opposition also focused on out-of-character neon lighting in a conservation area, the loss of seating, and concern the site had apparently been designated for “income-generating” use only.

After the meeting Marcelle Swann who runs arcades and a cafe nearby, said: “It's a great relief. I want to thank everyone who got involved with this - a lot of people turned up for this meeting and it really showed the public feeling out there.”

And ice-cream stall holder Tracey Kelly, said: “It was a lot to take in when we heard the decision. It was important we had had such a lot of support from the public. It did pay. We would still like to go forward and propose to do something with the site.”

In a report to committee, members were advised to approve the application and told: “The proposed alterations to the building will improve its appearance and make it a more acceptable feature in the conservation area”

But it was argued by a number of councillors, to frequent applause from the public, that the kiosk plan went against planning policy.

Councillor Bryan Watts said: “I have read the report two or three times to understand the contradictions I find here. It seems to be a conservation area one moment and something different the next.

“The hut is an unsightly place but I don't think the facility the applicant proposes will enhance the area. Gorleston is a tranquil place to live in, and it's not disrespectful to say it's totally different from Great Yarmouth.”

Objectors to the plan, confused by the approval of a related application for signs advertising the food and drinks kiosk, were nonetheless in jubilant mood afterwards.

Before the meeting a spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said giving the building an “income generating” role had been considered the best way forward. He said: “The former first aid building was deemed to be surplus to council requirements at the end of 2007 - with the building having no permanent use and the council receiving enquiries about its future usage.

“The building was put out to open tender, with local traders aware of the tender and invited to put forward proposals, should they so wish.

“Ultimately the council has to manage its property portfolio in the most effective way for council tax payers and it was deemed the efficient option to use the redundant premise so as to save maintenance costs, improve its appearance and generate income, which can be put back into services for residents”

He added the decision to give the building an “income generating” role was taken within the council, rather than being put to public consultation.

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