To: Cllr Rest, Steve Blatch Copy: Cllr Lee, Cllr Cox, Cllr Yiasmi, Cllr Pearce
12 September 2016
Proposed car park and public toilets at North Lodge Park, Cromer
Thank-you for sharing the proposed plans for car parking and public toilets in North Lodge Park. As agreed, Robert and I shared the plans with the Friends committee last week.
Implementation of the proposed car park in North Lodge Park will dramatically change the use of a significant part of this important and much loved Park. Acceptance of the development is a major decision for the community, one that should be made with all the right information, and put into context with the long term future of the Park.
The Friends of North Lodge Park know, through formal surveys and engagement with the community, that there remains significant opposition to a car park in North Lodge Park. However, we know that opinion has moved since the 2007 referendum, and there is some acceptance of a small car park development in the Park, on the old children’s play area, but with many caveats including the proviso that a proportion of the revenue generated is used for the benefit of the Park.
These proposals take away part of the recreational opportunity in Cromer, which council policy states is under supplied, without giving anything back.
On paper the current proposals seem to be counter to many of the council’s core policies (see footnote). These policies can be summarised to say that any development of an open space must improve that space. It could be argued that the car park is an improvement to the current state of the old children’s play area. But that’s a bit like saying putting a new uPVC front door on a dilapidated Listed house is an improvement while the rest of the house falls down. The car park is like the new front door while the rest of the Park continues to deteriorate.
North Lodge Park has been seen as a drain on the resources of NNDC since they assumed ownership on behalf of the community in the mid 70s, with many attempts over the years to reduce the financial burden. In parallel to these car park proposals NNDC are developing a Prior Information Notice (PIN) to work with a strategic partner on the future of North Lodge Park, to improve the Park whilst reducing its cost to the council. It is our view, supported by the council’s core policies listed above, that these two projects cannot be separated. Development of North Lodge Park needs to be seen as a whole.
To enable us to have a sensible debate on these proposals we ask NNDC to engage with the community, and openly discuss the future of all of North Lodge Park. Please can you tell the community how the car park proposals fit with the PIN opportunities and how the revenue from the car parking will be used to sustain and enhance the quality of the whole Park
Secretary, Friends of North Lodge Park
Footnote: NNDC Core Policies related to the car park proposal
NNDC’s Policy EN5 Public Realm states: Within areas designated as Public Realm proposals will be expected to enhance the overall appearance and usability of the area, and a co-ordinated approach to management will be encouraged;
Core Strategy Policy CT1 Open Space designations states: Development will not be permitted except where it enhances the open character or recreational use of the land;
NNDC’s policy EN8 Protecting and enhancing the Historic Environment states: Development proposals … should preserve or enhance the character and appearance of designated assets … and their settings through high quality, sensitive design. Development that would have an adverse impact on their special historic or architectural interest will not be permitted.