Action plan drawn up for £2m business park proposal in Norfolk

An action plan has been drawn up for the Egmere Business Park proposal. Picture: Ian Burt

An action plan has been drawn up for the Egmere Business Park proposal. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A controversial £2m business park proposal in north Norfolk may still be deliverable, after councillors met to discuss a new report.

An independent review into the viability of the Egmere Business Zone was discussed by North Norfolk District councillors (NNDC) on Monday, February 4.

The aim of the review, which was commissioned late last year, was to allow the council to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the project.

The business zone, near Walsingham, was previously identified as a potential area for employment growth, in particular to support the offshore wind energy sector.

The Egmere Local Development Order (LDO) was adopted in August 2014 with the objective of designating land for investment by businesses in the wind energy sector with a simplified planning regime.

Following the meeting, Sarah Butikofer, NNDC Leader, said: “Two views predominate, either to press ahead as is, or to work with our partners to find a middle way to make the site work for everyone.

“By reshaping our business model and working up a new business case it may yet be possible to deliver a scheme acceptable to all members.

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“We have agreed an action plan and are now working to bring clarity to these new avenues of investigation, such that a final decision can be reached.

“I would like to see the site progressed, but to enable us to do that we need to find a way to mitigate the substantial risks the council would be taking with taxpayers’ money.

“If we can make the site less risky in the longer term, it would be a fantastic opportunity to pump prime business growth in that part of the district.”

The scheme was a significant factor in the change of leadership at NNDC.

The previous Conservative-led cabinet with John Lee as leader had agreed to push ahead with the project, despite members voting in favour of recommending to Cabinet that a review be carried out. This led to Liberal Democrat Mrs Butikofer to table a vote of no confidence in Mr Lee’s leadership, which resulted in the council’s current cross-party cabinet.