Save jobs over Riverside homes

PROTESTERS are setting out their objections to a large residential development which will sweep away a swathe of Gorleston’s industrial riverside.

Fresh plans for housing at the Hall’s site on Riverside Road have triggered objections with campaigners lining up a raft of concerns ranging from loss of industrial space at a time when demand is likely to grow, to noise problems to do with the supermarket and port affecting anyone who moved in.

Margaret Ward of action group Start, which was involved in heated protests against the 2004 “Docklands” proposals on the same site, said that although the developer had taken on board some concerns the feelings were the same as they were eight years ago.

“People really felt that this area has a lot of unemployment and what we desperately need is jobs not more people brought to an area that is already short of work,” she said.

“We need to concentrate on employment. There are other areas that are already scheduled for housing.

“ It should remain a commercial site.”

She said spaces of that size were at a premium across the borough with even the new enterprise zones at South Denes and Beacon Park offering few areas as big, possibly squeezing future ambition.

Most Read

Noise was also an issue she said with the applicant’s own documents highlighting the likelihood of complaints to do with deliveries and the hum of refridgeration units at Morrisons, as well as noise from the busy port.

“The reason we are opposing this is fundamental,” she said. “ In the local development framework this is designated commercial industrial land.

“There is now a new draft document and it is still considered commercial industrial.

“This area is needed for storage and construction work connected to the port. Sites all around the town are now filling up.

“It is quite amazing this increase in activity.

“When it comes to jobs or houses people felt that there were other places where homes were possible but that commercial areas have to be maintained.”

As well as having a problem with the change of use of the land Mrs Ward said the 98-home development was too high and too dense - opinions which have been backed up by responses to Start’s survey last June which found that 85pc of people were “completely against” the scheme.

Gorleston, she added, had already made a good contribution to the borough’s housing stock with a peppering of “in-fill” schemes adding up to more than 60 homes.

Businessman Terry Hall is behind the scheme which has been prepared by a team including Ian Sinclair and Lowestoft-based Wellington Construction. The scheme includes 28,000sq ft of office space to satisfy the employment element as well as adding some green open space to an area where there is hardly any.

Planners now have 12 weeks to weigh up both sides. The deadline for objections from the public is March 2 quoting ref 06/12/0061/0.