News from the Winterton-on-Sea Parish Council & the village, July 2021
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SERVICE STATION HOMES BID: Plans for two large four-bed homes to be built on the site of Caters Service Station will be less beneficial to the village than a row of two-bed cottages parish council chairman Mark Bobby said.
The bid by James Colclough, which has an August 3 target date for a decision by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, is for detached homes with garages.
Norfolk County Council’s highways officers have expressed concern about the access to the site from Back Path - an unclassified lane with no pavement or lighting - and are recommending refusal on safety grounds.
At the full meeting of the parish council on June 30 Cllr Bobby said there had been local comment about the environmental impact of building work at the site because of petrol tanks in the ground.
And he pointed out the size of the properties. “It would be more beneficial to the village if it was a row of two-bed starter homes – more affordable homes for the village.”
There was also a suggestion that there should be a covenant to prevent them becoming holiday lets.
In response to the application the parish is asking for an environmental study to be carried out and has highlighted the lack of parking and social housing.
People in the village have expressed their disappointment at the closure of the garage.
On the borough council’s planning portal objector John Burns wrote: “It's sad to be losing a useful business, there are more than enough houses in the area. Up until the Covid problem the garage always seemed to be busy.
“Sad to be losing jobs for people, I always remember three or four people working there, I admit to being a regular customer of 24 years.”
The application can be seen on the borough council website.
GO AHEAD FOR MURAL: A project to install a seal-themed mural on the Beach Road public toilets has been given the green light.
The work by established street artist Sarah Gillings is set to be created at the end of the summer.
One of Sarah's previous murals at Saltdean, near Brighton Photo: Sandy Moon
Funding is being sought for the paint and to prime the wall, but the artist, who lives on the south coast will be accommodated by friends in the village.
Emma Punchard said the borough council had given permission for the work but that there would need to be some consultation on the content. “The last thing we want to do is put up something people hate,” she told fellow parish councillors at the June 30 meeting.
Marie Hartley said there were lots of examples of the artist’s work in other coastal areas to share and encouraged the village to embrace the opportunity.
She added it would be done in a way that minimised the opportunity for graffiti, but it would have to be made clear who was responsible for future maintenance.
LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: Controversial resurfacing work in Low Road has given a mobility scooter user his own personal motorway.
Marie Hartley told colleagues on the parish council the Norfolk County Council project, which attracted criticism earlier this year, was finally finished and over all the feedback had been favourable.
One resident who relied on a mobility scooter to get about was delighted. “It has transformed his life. He refers to Low Road now as is own personal motorway.”
He was now able to go out for the day at Somerton. “That just completely lifted my soul,” said Cllr Hartley.
In April, as the project was under way, some in the village complained it would affect wildlife along the route and claimed it didn’t need to be done. There was also criticism over some parts of the byway being a patchwork of rocks. But contractors returned to the site to finish the project.
John Smithson pointed out that without the resurfacing project the work to install a water supply at the allotments could not have been done because of the cost involved.
IN THE HOT SEAT: Winterton has a parish council chairman for the first time in almost two years. Former deputy Mark Bobby was elected to the chair for the year when the council met on June 30 – its first face-to-face meeting since February last year. The last time the council had a chairman was September 2019. Nigel Coe was chosen as vice-chairman.
DARK SKIES CONCERN: A bid to build a chalet bungalow in North Market Road has thrown up the issue of light pollution.
The three-bedroomed property on the site of The Ark includes plans for large windows on the first floor, folding glass doors at ground level and French doors onto a balcony.
Winterton Parish Council has raised concerns over the size of the development and asked for an environmental study because it is next door to the dunes site of special scientific interest.
At the June 30 meeting Emma Noble noted large glazed areas in the plans and drew colleagues’ attention to the campaign to protect the night skies from light pollution.
Applicant Michael Rowley wants to knock down the bungalow, which has been in his family for many years and replace it with a new family home. But neighbours have objected to the scheme, due to be decided by the end of July.
Claire and Andrew Hughes said the development was overbearing at two or three times the size of the current building. In their objection they said they were concerned about the effect on the dunes. “The proposed development is so close to the dunes there can be no doubt that the building project and subsequent occupancy capacity (being able to accommodate more than the existing structure) will disturb nesting birds, bats and adders, all of which we regularly see in our garden, and indeed crossing from our garden into the Ark.”
Christine Crawford said she was sure there was an adder haven nearby that could be affected. As well as the effect on neighbours from the building work, noise pollution, increased traffic and loss of privacy she was worried about the use of the building.
“The occupancy is a huge concern to me as it is highly likely to become a holiday let, which due to its location is likely to have a high occupancy rate,” she said. “If the
application is approved, we would hope that some form of restriction is applied to limit the occupancy to residential only and not allowing holiday lets/second homes.”
GRASS CUTTING: Villages should have been told about Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s scheme to reduce grass cutting in spring to give nature a helping hand.
Parish councillors, who heard many complaints from villagers about the unkempt state of the greens and open spaces in Winterton, told borough representative James Bensly they would have liked to have known about the plan.
At the full council meeting on June 30 Cllr Bensly explained the cut was usually done on a 21-day programme. During May and June this year it was paused to benefit wildlife, not just in Winterton, but in the other villages.
He admitted the borough’s mistake was in not communicating its plan. But it was now asking villages to identify different open spaces and who had responsibility for their maintenance so a future plan could be drawn up.
Chairman Mark Bobby said there had been a lot of negativity about the long grass and it would have been nice to know about the plan.
In a lot of cases it was difficult to see the flowers planted by the in Bloomers on the greens. But he accepted there was another school of thought that not all of the greens in the village needed to be manicured.
“Grass cutting has taken over from parking as the biggest talking point,” said deputy Nigel Coe. “Virtually everybody is talking about the state of the village.
He added: “We pay the contractors quite a lot of money every month and I don’t think they’ve been showering themselves in glory.
Marie Hartley highlighted the national focus on helping bees and wildlife by reducing grass cutting in spring and said the borough was still running to catch up on the back of the pandemic. “I think the key message for our councillor to take back is communication.”
But she added: “As a parish council we have an opportunity to write our own script in determining how and where we cut our wildlife areas.”
Emma Punchard said identifying areas for wildlife would fit in neatly with the work of the parish environment group.
EXTENSION OPPOSED: A family’s plan to extend its home in The Holway has met with opposition from the parish council.
The application to build a front and rear extension and create an upper floor with a balcony at the bungalow has yet to be decided by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
A similar plan last year was refused and at its meeting on June 30 the parish council objected to the latest bid by Richard and Jemma Hodds, saying it was not much smaller than the first.
But the scheme has won support from some neighbours.
Writing in the borough council’s planning portal next door neighbour Lorraine Waters said she had no objections and Marina Carr who lives a few doors away said it was in keeping with many other houses on and facing The Holway.
Nearby resident Marilyn Hunt wrote: “The bungalow is next to a line of houses and is the only one without an upper floor so it seems very sensible to allow this extensions. Plus it is a family who have grown up in the village and have children, which are much needed in the village to support its future.”
But Andrew Parnell and Dean Minns have objected, claiming the extension will have a major impact on their views and tranquillity. “We believe the height and size of the development to be overbearing and out of scale.”
Last year’s application was refused on the grounds that it was overbearing and over dominant in scale and appearance and would have an unacceptable detrimental impact on the neighbouring property.
CONES A SUCCESS: Traffic cones put out around the village to cut down on bottlenecks and blockages are proving a success.
Deputy chairman Nigel Coe said the feedback from residents had been really positive. The traffic appeared to be flowing much better and people could get about the village and to the beach car park much more easily.
The weather had not been so good recently and high season had not yet arrived but the plan was to continue putting out them out.
The cones were bought by the council earlier this year and are put out by councillors and volunteers at problem junctions and pinch points in a bid to prevent a repeat of last year’s scenes when emergency services struggled to get to the beach and the bus couldn’t get through.
The traffic management group was talking to the police, highways and the council about other more permanent options which could include single or double yellow lines and potentially, a meeting would be held in September in the village.
“Until then we need to build greater knowledge of those busy days,” he said. Taking pictures and notes, logging incidents would all help. “So when we do meet the county council we have detailed, very real examples of what has happened.”
John Smithson asked whether the meeting could be pulled forward so the authorities had a chance to see the issues the village faced as they happened.
And he pressed the case for white lines to be put in at the junctions and the bus stop as a reminder of the Highway Code instruction not to park within 10 metres of a junction.
Chairman Mark Bobby stressed any move to bring in permanent measures would be done following consultation with the residents. “The last thing we want to be doing is
laying yellow lines all over the village without talking to the residents,” he said.
In his role as county councillor James Bensly told the meeting that highways would start resurfacing roads in rural areas over the next four years and was looking at reducing speed limits in areas identified by parishes.
He suggested Winterton incorporated that move into its traffic management plan. The highways work would be done by county division and would take two to three years to reach Winterton, but he would rather the parish was ready for it.
Pictures and notes on parking problems in the village can be emailed to the council at firstname.lastname@example.org
IN BLOOM: The village In Bloom team is blooming. Parish councillors were told six more people had joined the volunteers.
The group suffered the theft of plants, mainly from the entrance to the playing field, but the area was now looking good. Marie Hartley said the incident ought to be reported to the police because it would be useful for officers to know in case other villages were being targeted.
Emma Punchard added the team should be thanked for making the village look beautiful.
YOUNG chef Alex Clare is just two days into a brand new culinary adventure after starting his own business in Winterton.
The 24-year-old from Martham, who won the best chef title in the Norfolk Food and Drink Awards, has left the Swan at Ingham where he was head chef to set up Norfolk’s Edge – literally on the edge of Norfolk.
He is running the Airstreams in the beach car park with the help of girlfriend Georgia and a couple of friends and his new menu is already proving popular.
And as well as providing snacks for hungry visitors, dog walkers and locals, he’s got big plans to bring fine dining and barbecues to folk in the village.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “You couldn’t get a better spot. We’re bringing the North Norfolk vibe to Winterton.”
Alex joined the Swan at the tender age of 16 working for owner Daniel Smith. “I wanted a job. I wanted to find a career that I could do really well in,” he said. “I loved working for Daniel. I was his first apprentice.
“I was very sorry to leave but I’ve got an itch that I need to scratch.”
Working in the kitchen is not for the faint-hearted. It’s often stressful, the hours are long and involve split shifts. While his friends were out socialising or heading off to university he was learning his craft. “I suppose I missed all those sort of things but I wanted to progress. I was trying to make being a chef cool again in my world.”
One of the first dishes he learned to prepare was an assiette of seafood. And fish is going to be a staple of his menu in Winterton, at the takeaway and for the fine dining side of his venture. Already his smoked mackerel wrap with tomato salsa, crème fraîche and parsley has gone down well with customers at the beach. “I’m trying to make it a lot more seafood-led because we’re right by the sea,” he explained.
Further down the line Alex, who originally hails from Upton, wants to take his cuisine into people’s homes. He also wants to stage evening events and barbecues. Once he gets established the plan is to replace the Airstreams with converted shipping containers to provide a more permanent – but moveable – base. See @EdgeWinterton on Instagram for more. Pictures: © Peter Robins
Georgia Butler, Alex Clare, Charles Tennant and Joey Woolsey
Chef Alex Clare, Charles Tennant and Georgia Butler
Chef Alex Clare
Chef's new life on the Edge
A digest from last month's parish council meeting