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Secret deal struck which could see new shops built on edge of village

PUBLISHED: 06:47 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:01 08 October 2019

Shops could be built on land off Links Road in Hopton-on-Sea. Pic: Google Maps.

Shops could be built on land off Links Road in Hopton-on-Sea. Pic: Google Maps.

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A secret deal has been struck which could see more than two acres of a farm owned by Norfolk County Council sold to make way for a shopping development.

Greg Peck, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for commercial services and asset management . Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Greg Peck, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for commercial services and asset management . Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Norfolk County Council has been in talks with what was described as "a nationally renowned company" to sell the land off Links Road between Gorleston and Hopton-on-Sea.

But the council is keeping tight-lipped about who the buyer of that land is, because of the commercial sensitivity of their negotiations.

The disposal of the land was agreed at a meeting of the council's Conservative-controlled cabinet at a meeting on Monday, although the specifics of who is buying the land and for much will remain secret for now.

But Greg Peck, the council's cabinet member for commercial services and asset management, said: "We have agreed terms with a nationally renowned company to bring forward new retail units at Hopton.

"It will provide jobs and better facilities for local people. The details are currently commercially confidential."

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The council deemed the land surplus to the council's requirements in September 2017, which led to the offer from the unnamed company.

The site has not been offered on the open market, as the council's head of property concluded that would incur marketing costs and would not bring in a better offer.

The proposed use is for shops and retail units and officers, in documents presented to councillors, said: "The purchaser has a national track record of bringing forward quality schemes, which would enhance the provision within the area."

When the deal is fully settled, the details will be publicly available on the land registry website, officers said, although the development would still need to secure planning permission from Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Also in Hopton-on-Sea, the county council agreed that a site east of Lowestoft Road, should be sold to the authority's own house-building company Repton Homes for at least £2.9m.

Repton Homes was set up by the council to "exploit" the value of the authority's assets. The thinking is that profit made from homes built on council land can go back into the council's coffers to help provide services.

Repton Homes will aim to build up to 200 homes on the site. Planning permission is already in place.

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