Outcry over Hemsby housing plan for Pontins site

A PLAN to sweep away hundreds of holiday beds to make way for 191 new homes would devastate a seaside village, traders and councillors have warned.

Northern Trust, owner of the Pontins site at Hemsby, has submitted outline plans to Great Yarmouth Borough Council to use the former holiday camp site in Beach Road to provide the homes and a new care home, as well as public open spaces.

A spokesman said if planning permission were given cash from the sale or rental of the new homes would be used to create a �1m investment fund to support the local tourism industry.

This pot could be managed by the borough council, he added, and would pay local businesses to improve their tourism facilities.

But the reassurances were not enough to convince Charles Reynolds, chairman of the council’s development control committee, who was angry the landowner had turned its back on a separate proposal which arose from public consultations for a split site providing 120 homes and a new caravan park.

He supported this proposal, stating the caravan park would have attracted tourists into the village and provided a boost for seaside attractions in Beach Road.

However, by building houses this was unlikely to bring in the tourists these businesses needed to survive, he said.

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The businessman, who runs Reynolds Coaches, wanted to maintain the divide between the village itself on one side of Yarmouth Road and the holiday industry on the other, but by building homes on the Pontins site the divisions were becoming blurred.

“They have now come in with this plan. I think it is appalling. God knows how Hemsby’s medical facilities and schools will cope with 191 new houses. It just frightens me. They could have been negotiating on a split site, but they have totally ignored that and come in with this plan.”

What do you think of the housing plans? Call the Mercury on 01493 847955 or email dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk