'Leave it alone, it's perfect as it is' - runners rebellion over council plans to change seafront
PUBLISHED: 17:35 18 March 2019
Archant Norfolk © 2016
Runners took a break to spell out their opposition over a council plan to add a trio of kiosks to Gorleston's lower prom.
Hundreds of people stood together to create the word ‘NO’, joining traders who are deeply troubled by the scheme and unconvinced by the economic benefits and arguments about visitor choice.
And Parkrun organiser Chris Harbord warned the weekly 5km route could be “at risk” if the plans went ahead with little room to safely extend the course.
“It is a terrific public amenity, that is the hinge of my protest,” he said.
“It has been a public amenity for over 100 years and it is appreciated for what it is - an area for scooters and bikes.
“We are aware that for an hour every week we spoil that amenity but we are using it for a public event, not for profit, litter or smells.
“The council has to make money but the amount they will raise from this is nothing compared to the loss of the space.
“If you look at old pictures people used to promenade along there in full dresses and suits it has been there that long.
“Now it could all be thrown away for the sake of a few pounds.”
He said the ‘NO’ protest took place before Saturday’s run and comprised runners, passers-by who were against the plan, and traders from the parade of shops.
Shortening the route was not really an option, he said, and doing a third circuit was too dangerous with fast runners lapping walkers and crowding too many people along steep paths.
Already the run - which is ten years old next month - was at capacity with little room for manoeuvre and many people said they were bitterly opposed mainly because they liked Gorleston as it was, Mr Harbord said.
Meanwhile people have been making their views known via the borough council’s planning portal.
One person said: “Leave it alone, it’s perfect as it is.”
Another added: “Please leave Gorleston alone, it’s doing fine. Sometimes it’s lovely to just sit and be, do not spoil that.”
“I love Gorleston and am concerned it will be spoiled and even fail and become run down,” a Bradwell resident added.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council said the new concessions would offer facilities that are not currently available locally.
A statement said: “The two kiosks/huts proposed in the area of the yacht pond are not planned as food concessions and would only be sited if an operator comes forward to deliver a suitable facility.
“Public consultation responses form part of the decision-making process.”