'Parkland' plan for former Pontins poised for approval

Former Pontins Hemsby

Derelict holiday chalets will be remodelled into homes under Pine Developments' plans to create a mixed-use community. - Credit: Paul Robinson Partnership

Planners are poised to approve a holiday park-to-homes remodelling scheme they say is better than previous bids.

Permission has already been granted to demolish holiday chalets at the former Pontins in Hemsby and replace them with 190 new homes and a 50-unit caravan park.

But a new bid from Pine Developments is looking to reuse many of the existing buildings to create a mix of new homes and holiday lodges.

The Pines Hemsby

New signs at the former Pontins holiday park in Beach Road, Hemsby, point to a new development. Planners will decide if The Pines can go ahead at their online development control meeting on February 17, 2021, at 4pm. - Credit: James Bensly

Preparations have been under way for some time at the site and signs have gone up proclaiming The Pines, as "a unique parkland setting".

Under the plans the existing swimming pool will be refurbished and a leisure centre, spa and cafe added, along with four retail units, three with flats above.

Concerns have been raised about pressure on services, overlooking, and flood risk.

But others support the scheme, which will retain established trees and add shops, facilities, and public green space on a problem site that has long been a magnet for vandals and arsonists.

Steam rising from the site of a large fire at the former Pontins holiday park in Hemsby. Picture: Ja

FLASHBACK: Steam rising from the site of a large fire at the former Pontins holiday park in Hemsby. - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is hosting a virtual meeting of its development control committee on February 17 at 4pm.

Papers released ahead of the meeting show officers are advising members to approve the scheme, promoted as a leafy, family-friendly community by the applicant Graham Avery.

The plans show 188 homes ranging from one-bed flats to three-bed houses mainly adapted from existing buildings on the south end of the site away from Beach Road.

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Meanwhile some 91 lodges - 53 made from the derelict chalets and 38 new pre-fabs - will take shape at the southern end using the main Pontins entrance.

Three entrances off Kingsway will serve the residential homes.

Pontins at Hemsby

A new image released January 2021 showing part of the proposed new development at Pontins in Hemsby. - Credit: Paul Robinson Partnership

Planners noted that Highways - having raised concerns - would be  unlikely to adopt the road network, the layout being restricted by the existing buildings.

In summary they said they broadly welcomed the regeneration of derelict buildings in an "attractive living environment" while adding a leisure centre and swimming pool for public use.

They added: "It is considered that this proposal is a pragmatic way to regenerate the site and deliver new homes.

Pontins in Hemsby through the years. Photo: Archant Library

Pontins in Hemsby through the years. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

"It is recommended that the application is approved subject to conditions."

The 22-acre site has been empty for more than a decade and been variously promoted as an Eden-project style camping hub and a veteran's village.

In 2011 a scheme for 191 homes and a 60-bed care home was withdrawn.