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Outer Harbour bosses want planning laws relaxed

PUBLISHED: 06:30 02 March 2012

Aerial picture of the Outer Harbour.

Aerial picture of the Outer Harbour.

Archant

GORLESTON residents could face more noise, light and smell pollution it is claimed, if outer harbour bosses are handed control of the peninsula.

Industry chiefs - including Great Yarmouth Port Company (GYPC) - have asked the government for special permission to develop the peninsula without having to go through the council’s planning department.

The special 25-year Local Development Order (LDO) is intended to promote economic growth. But campaigners fear the growth of industry could cause residents to suffer.

And if Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, decides to grant the LDO it will remove the need for developers to go through the planning application process.

While the move would be a shot in the arm for industry in the town, Gorleston residents are fearful of what may be built if the council has less control over the outer harbour.

Campaigner Dennis Durrant said: “What’s built there affects tourism and the whole area. It should be very much controlled and planning rules should apply. I hope they don’t get this LDO as they practically own the peninsula.”

The LDO decision has been split into separate parts - for South Denes and Beacon Park.

Councillors will decide whether to send South Denes proposals to Mr Pickles at a meeting on March 8.

And the decision for Beacon Park is already in his hands, after proposals were voted through at a council meeting on Thursday, February 16.

Outer harbour bosses hope the special LDO will be granted.

GYPC, in a report prepared by lawyer’s Winckworth Sherwood, states regulations would still apply to its northern end, land west of the river and the area surrounding Nelson’s Monument. Environmental directives would continue to apply.

But the document says rules should not be necessary “where heavy industry, maritime operations and a wide galaxy of business is already situated and focused.”

Bosses recognise that handing the outer harbour planning autonomy is a big step, but say it is a positive one.

“We feel that a giant leap is justified, absolutely required and above all legally possible,” the report says. “The LDO for the South Denes area can and should go much further in encouraging inward investment and development which is the fundamental purpose of the LDO and the basis for which Enterprise Zone status was awarded.”

Peter Warner, the borough council’s head of planning, wrote: “The borough council has consulted on its promotion of an LDO.

“This allows certain types of development to take place without the need for businesses to apply for planning permission and is part of the recent Enterprise Zone initiative for the Port and South Denes and Beacon Park, Gorleston.

“Consultations took place over a four week period from Thursday, January 19 to Thursday, February 16.

“More than 1,500 individuals and organisations were consulted and by the close of business last Thursday some 30 individual and business responses containing over 150 specific representations – ranging from the RSPB to the Great Yarmouth Port Company - had been received.

“These are now under careful consideration.”

It is up to Mr Pickles to approve the LDO - or approve it with amendments - to begin on April 1.

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