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Facelift for village

PUBLISHED: 15:08 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:22 07 July 2010

A unique village once at the heart of Norfolk's booming railways is to be given a raft of facelift improvements after a review of its conservation area.

A unique village once at the heart of Norfolk's booming railways is to be given a raft of facelift improvements after a review of its conservation area.

Melton Constable, between Holt and Fakenham, was a boom town of the late 1880s, it had an 800ft platform and was at the junction of four railway lines.

Yet, since the decline of the railways, years of development have seen substantial erosion of its historic built heritage due to what has been called inadequate planning control, according to a report.

Traffic was have a detrimental affect on the village, architectural details like sash windows had been lost, approaches to the village needed enhancement, overhead cables were a problem and buildings associated with the railway had not been protected.

Now council bosses want to see past damaged reversed, according to a report, which will see the village's bright future as a conservation area sealed.

The report, to North Norfolk Council's planning committee today, outlines measures to turn around the village's future.

If agreed, these would see:

A new conservation area covering the village, excluding the new Plantation Hill development.

Tighter planning rules could be put in place over homes in Melton Street, Colville Road, Grove Road and Astley Terrace - meaning changes to homes normally not requiring planning permission, will not need planning permission.

An application is to be made to get a cast iron water tower on the industrial estate formally listed through English Heritage.

Traffic issues and on street parking to be looked at, a programme of improvements to home frontages launched and areas of open spaces enhanced.

The report says: “Melton Constable is a unique village. It developed during a period of rapid economic and social growth in the late 1880s. It became a key junction in the north Norfolk railway system.”

Key features of the town were having terraces of original railway housing and historic municipal buildings including the former school, railway institute and pub.

However, the report said there was scant evidence of the former impressive

railway station and there had been substantial erosion of building character due to development.

The new conservation area appraisal was carried out to meet government targets for conservation areas to have up to date appraisals of their character.

The document will be used to help make decision over any future changes to the town - from building new homes and roads to changes to existing buildings.

There are 31 conservation areas in north Norfolk.

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