Bright outlook for Wells
Chris Hill The task of shaping ambitious ideas for the regeneration of Wells into realistic plans has begun with the inaugural meeting of the scheme's partnership board.
The task of shaping ambitious ideas for the regeneration of Wells into realistic plans has begun with the inaugural meeting of the scheme's partnership board.
Representatives from councils, businesses and community groups met to discuss the draft Wells for the Future report, produced by development consultants Bluefish in November.
The document listed five key projects, including an arts venue at The Maltings and affordable housing on Stearman's Yard car park - which would be replaced by 400 spaces on Freeman Street
The blueprint was not universally accepted, with particular concerns raised about the loss of town centre parking to make way for new developments.
But members of the new partnership board said the early ideas were not “set in stone” and would be studied individually to ensure they were practical - and wanted within the town.
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North Norfolk District Council's deputy leader Clive Stockton was elected chairman, with Wells Town Councillor Campbell MacCallum becoming vice-chairman.
Mr Stockton said: “The Bluefish report caused a great deal of contention in some areas, but it is not set in stone.
“It was a good starting point and from here on we look at the reality of what projects can be delivered and what is acceptable to the community. There is no point going ahead with these projects if the community does not want them.”
Mr Stockton said Bluefish's ideas to reduce parking in Staithe Street and move the Tourist Information Centre to a new visitor centre on Beach Road would be reconsidered in response to public opinion.
Mr MacCallum, who presented the meeting with a petition signed by businesses opposed to the loss of town centre car parking, said he was satisfied the concerns were being addressed.
The board members also included district and county council officers, Lord Coke from Holkham Hall, and representatives from the Wells Community Association, and North Norfolk Community partnership.
A separate project team was set up for a scheme to create a public plaza at The Maltings including a new theatre and museum.