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‘It could be the end of Hemsby’- Parish council chairman’s warning over Pontins site plan

PUBLISHED: 13:26 04 October 2018

The former pontins site in Hemsby following an arson attack in August. Picture: Mick Howes

The former pontins site in Hemsby following an arson attack in August. Picture: Mick Howes

Archant

A parish council chairman has warned proposals which could see 190 homes built on the former Pontins site in Hemsby could “be the end” of the village.

The proposed plans for the Pontins site in Hemsby. Image supplied by Northern TrustThe proposed plans for the Pontins site in Hemsby. Image supplied by Northern Trust

It comes as the parish council has made an objection to Northern Trust Company’s application for 190 homes, retail development and holiday accommodation on the 22-acre site in Beach Road.

Chairman of Hemsby Parish Council, Terry Barnes, said: “If the proposals for housing go ahead it could be the end of Hemsby.

“We are not against investment into the town such as through housing but the site is the only place we have left which can be used for tourism.

“We’re going to keep on fighting otherwise we’ll have nowhere else to go.”

The Pontins holiday site closed ten years ago but the land was designated in 2001 by the borough council’s local plan as a primary holiday accommodation area.

The landowners Northern Trust said it marketed the site as such but a tourism buyer was not found.

The parish council has objected to the proposals as it believes they do not conform with local planning policy which it says is designed to protect the site from being converted into “permanent residential uses”.

Developers Northern Trust was contacted for comment but did not reply.

At a consultation event in Hemsby earlier this year, residents also raised fears the extra homes would not be complemented by a doctor’s surgery, dentists or other key infrastructure.

Hemsby’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism with local business Richardson’s investing £10m into its Hemsby Beach Holiday Park earlier this year to create a 45-acre ‘super park’.

Mr Barnes added: “We are a shrinking resort and haven’t had much investment from the borough council in years. In five to ten years if things carry on the way they are many businesses won’t still be here.”

The site on Beach Road has remained unused for the past ten years and has since fallen into disrepair after a suspected arson attack took place there in September last year. Another arson attack took place at the site in August with the blaze being tackled by over 90 firefighters.

A decision over the proposals is expected later on this month.

What do you think of the proposals? Email joe.norton@archant.co.uk

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