Town council object to bid for car park site to become affordable homes

Highfield Road car park in Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Highfield Road car park in Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A town council has voted against a plans for a car park to become a site for new affordable homes.

The plans from North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to transform a section of Highfield Road car park into a site for affordable homes was unanimously voted against by Fakenham Town Council's (FTC) members at an extraordinary town council meeting on February 1.

In a written response to the proposal, a spokesman for FTC said: "We strongly support the increase in affordable housing throughout the district, to help locals and young people onto the property ladder.

"However, the council does not see Highfield car park as a suitable site for development as it believes it would lead to its closure."

The town council did share alternative sites for development, including the old grammar school site or land to the rear of the town’s football club.

A spokesman for NNDC said it was disappointed to hear the town council's opposition to the development, but will continue to work with it and any other relevant parties to try and provide “urgently-needed” affordable housing.

The Fakenham sign found on Norwich Street in the town.

The plans from North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to transform a section of Highfield Road car park, in Fakenham, into a site for affordable homes, was unanimously voted against by Fakenham Town Counci - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The FTC spokesman added the car park is close to a very old part of town which has little car parking, and that housing being built on the site may create a shortfall in parking spaces.

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He said: "FTC also feels very strongly that affordable homes should be part of a housing mix with houses of different values, not some sort of ghettoisation which separates the less well off from those on higher incomes."

FTC would like to see a longer and more strategy-based approach to affordable housing, he added.

North Norfolk District Council's offices in Cromer. Pictures: NNDC

NNDC said it was disappointed to hear the town council's opposition to the possible development, but will continue to work with them and any other relevant parties as they explore ways to provide “urgently-needed” affordable housing in Fakenham and across the region. - Credit: NNDC

The spokesman for NNDC said: "There are more than 2,600 households on our housing list, including 419 in the highest priority categories and 40-plus households currently homeless and living in temporary accommodation.

"The district council anticipates provision of 340 affordable lets this year, with each home advertised attracting 100-plus bids.

"Clearly there is a pressing need to try to provide more affordable housing and the highly-suitable site at Highfield Road, which is NNDC’s lowest-performing car park in revenue terms, we would believe have provided a good solution to meeting part of this need in Fakenham."

Highfield car-park in Fakenham. Picture: Google Maps

Highfield car-park in Fakenham. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant