Great Yarmouth coach station targeted for housing

GREAT Yarmouth’s beach coach station car park is set to be one of the first targets of an exciting new enterprise set up by Norfolk County Council to advance development projects across the county.

Plans look likely be drawn up for a major housing scheme on the prime North Denes Road site, which was destined to be the location for a �10m office block to house borough and county council staff until the proposal fell through three years ago.

The new scheme, which could potentially see a mixed development of more than 80 homes, is set to be worked on by the Norfolk Development Company (NDC), a commercial enterprise given county council cabinet approval last month.

In Yarmouth, the company can be seen as a successor to the urban regeneration company 1st East which closed down on March 31.

If the coach station plan is given the green light by the NDC’s local board, which is yet to meet, the skills and resources of council staff would be used to market the borough council-owned site and to work with developers.

Profits from the scheme would be ploughed back into the council to help pay off debts and to fund further regeneration projects.

It is understood that alternative sites for coaches and lorries to park are already being considered.

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Graham Plant, county cabinet member and borough councillor, confirmed they were looking to bring proposals in Yarmouth to the NDC’s area board to see whether they would be suitable to take forward, but it was too early to talk in detail about individual sites.

He said: “Where there is potential we would also need to consult with and consider the needs of existing site users, and this has not happened for any site.”

However, he said that the beach coach station site had been crying out to be developed for years.

And if they could move this plan forward it would have a very positive effect by moving big coaches and lorries away from residential areas.

He said it was a large site, and he could see it being suitable for anything from 80 up to 100 homes.

“We would have to look at any plans closely and see there was adequate provision for parking cars and placing of bins,” he said.

Mr Plant described it as a prime site, out of the flood plain and close to the town centre, seafront and schools.

At the NDC’s launch, county council leader Derrick Murphy described it as “a way councils can unlock economic development opportunities”.

It would draw together skills in district and county councils to speed up the way new projects were agreed and implemented.

The end of 1st East’s era drew a mixed response across the town.

At an annual cost of �800,000 of public money, it was intended to strip away planning red tape, assemble parcels of hard-to-develop land, market them and draw in investment - but it failed to deliver any building projects in its five years.

However, 1st East chief executive Philip Watkins remains confident that the URC’s action plan to develop North Quay, Cobholm and Southtown Road will still be realised when the the recession lifts.

He is also proud of the role 1st East has played in marketing the area for wind energy development.