190 homes project for Hemsby Pontins site

PLANS to redevelop the former Pontins Holiday Centre at Hemsby with a 60 bed care home and up to 191 houses have been earmarked for refusal.

The site has been vacant since the centre closed in 2008 and despite 24-hour security it has suffered from burglaries and criminal damage, a planning report states.

Applicant Northern Trust Company Ltd has submitted plans to Great Yarmouth Borough Council to redevelop the site with a 60-bed care home and up to 191 houses and associated open space and infrastructure.

The 8.9 hectare site is in the centre of the built up area of Hemsby. The main site access is off Beach Road.

The accommodation on the site currently comprises extensive ranges of flat roofed two storey chalet blocks, together with a large facilities building and other ancillary buildings. Overall accommodation at maximum capacity was around 2,440 people.

The planning report states: “The application has been submitted because the applicant considers other sites in the area can accommodate tourist demand and the competitive market together with adverse trends in the UK and local holiday market and the unfavourable site conditions in terms of site layout and general surroundings make the site unviable for large companies to maintain its former use. Smaller companies will be unable to raise the necessary finance.”

The application is due to be heard at a meeting of the borough council’s development control committee on Tuesday. The council has received 340 responses from local people of which 338 are opposed to the proposal with two in favour of the development.

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In summary, the views of neighbours are that any new development will place further demands on local facilities; the proposal is contrary to current policies in the Local Plan; loss of holiday accommodation; this is a holiday resort area which should substantially be maintained; impact on local facilities and infrastructure and insufficient demand for further housing.

The plan has been recommended for refusal with the report stating: “The application site forms the western edge of a cluster of holiday accommodation and entertainment establishments which have characterised Hemsby over the last 50-80 years sites have contracted/expanded to meet changing economic and commercial circumstances.

“In today’s climate the council and the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority are of the opinion that the site if maintained and made available could still play an important regeneration role in maintaining Hemsby’s holiday accommodation offer as well as providing expenditure to sustain the local tourism economy. The proposal is considered to be contrary to planning policy, on tourism, housing and transport and premature pending the local development framework.”