Poll: Should the businessman behind a £1m car park plan at Holt have to pay a £20,000 planning fee?

An impression of the C T Baker car park plan at Holt An impression of the C T Baker car park plan at Holt

Thursday, April 3, 2014
6:30 AM

A businessman is threatening to pull the plug on a £1m car park plan at Holt over claims planners are putting hurdles in the way of the much-needed scheme.

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Well-known company boss Michael Baker is behind a scheme for a two-storey car park in the town centre which has been dogged with parking problems in recent years.

The scheme would add another 162 spaces in two levels above the 125 spaces outside his Budgens store off Kerridge Way.

But he says North Norfolk District Council is making it difficult for him - including wanting to charge him a £20,000 fee to deal with the plans.

Mr Baker said: “I have no intention of going ahead with the project unless there is some discretion over the fee.”

After months of seeking a price for the planning fee, he was only recently told it would have to be dealt with as a commercial building.

Mr Baker said: “Yes there is a charge, but it is partly a public facility. It is just a steel structure and does not even have a roof.”

His company CT Baker, which also runs the long-established Bakers and Larners department store, stepped in with its car park plan after he felt another private scheme at Thornage Road was stalling.

“A lot of people don’t come here in the busy times because there is nowhere to park,” he explained.

“There is a history of Holt needing another car park, and this business is prepared to invest £1m to do soomething about it.

“I have been talking to officials for a year about this, and was also initially told there was no need for a traffic assessment. Now they say there is.”

“I admit Budgens will benefit but so will the town.”

Mr Baker said that when he developed a builders’ merchants at Aylsham in neighbouring Broadland District Council the authority “welcomed us with open arms”.

He felt North Norfolk was “making things difficult” and he had no intention of pressing ahead with the scheme until there was “acceptable resolution” to the problem.

A district council spokesman said: “We are having a dialogue with Mr Baker’s agent and we are keen to move the plan forward for the benefit of the visitors and residents of Holt.

“We are prepared to work alongside him to come up with something that is satisfactory - but most go through the planning process.”

That was also likely to involve assessments of the car park’s impact on traffic and the local heritage setting.

She stressed that the fee scales, and assessment requirements were laid down by others - the government and county hall.

What do you think? Write to nnn.letters@archant.co.uk

19 comments

  • £20,000 is absurd for what amounts to a public facility. We need more car parking spaces in Holt desperately. Mr Baker is ready to provide them (at some considerable expense). Let's welcome his initiative and get on with it without "fining" him for his pro-activity. Incidentally, I think it looks rather good; it is a car park, after all.

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    The man on the Clapham Omnibus

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Wasn't the point of this car park that Mr Baker was fed up of waiting for the one down Thornage Road? The developer there is yet to begin because he disputes the associated fees. It seems a bit deja vu.

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    Jono

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • I'm not sure that the extra 2% planning fee is really a very big issue for a car park that is supposedly costed at £1 million? After all, with inflation running at 1.7 per cent, Mr Baker will be paying nearly that in extra costs before the scheme is even started. Anyway, such a relatively small cost compared to the capital outlay should be easy to absorb either by stricter budgeting of the building costs or by recovering it by an charging slightly more for each parking ticket. Whilst I applaud Mr Bakers business acumen I don't believe that he or anyone else should be exempt from the same planning fees that anyone else would have to pay if they wanted to develop something similar!

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    Bad Form

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • It's ugly, build underground, not overground.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • wasnt baker suspended from the council for a year some time ago for mixing business with council affairs?

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Build it in your own back garden Mr Greedy!

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    dave123

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • It's ugly, build underground, not overground.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • allow him to do it...... if he makes sure no one pays a penny to park there. whatever happens he will have more foot fall for his shop and everyone will be paying i guess £1 a hour he is not hard done by

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • No mention that he is a councillor! Mr Baker, the same rules apply to you as to everyone else! The Aylsham site is at the edge of town, this one is smack in the centre of Holt!

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    Mr Majika

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Caption reads CT Baker but it's Budgens. Both owned by mike baker though.

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    samphirelover

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • What a massive eyesore. There should be outcry against this .... As someone else said so much fuss was made about some adhesive stickers on the windows of the Premier supermarket in Holt and this monstrosity will probably slip through because it's Mr Baker involved.

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    samphirelover

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Let's leave the fees discussion for another day! My problem is that it looks bloody awful. Let's hope those who had issue with the picture of The Sun on the front of the Premier shop, and who objected to the new supermarket design, have something to say about this.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • All developers, or private individuals making a planning application, have to pay a planning fee, and have done so for may years, why should this development be any different ?

    Report this comment

    Steve S

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • Assuming Mr Baker can fill all of his spaces each day and charge £1 per hour (the current rate) it would only take seventeen days to pay the £20,000.00 and that's before factoring in income from the fines for those not paying and displaying Even with the money back scheme for shoppers using the car park it shouldn't take much more than a month or so to pay NNDC for a planning process likely to swell Mr Baker's already considerable coffers by a significant amount. An ambitious plan such as this is always going to be a risk or reward project. Personally, I applaud anything that improves parking in Holt, but I would suggest Mr Baker should have have courage in his conviction and proceed, and if not, have the grace and dignity to accept defeat.

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    mjc

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • At last someone has stuck their neck out to help the town! All Mr Baker is saying is that £20,000 for a planning application fee is absolutely ludicrous when yet again he is desperately trying to help the town. Its the one thing everyone agrees on in Holt - the town desperately needs more parking! For 40 years Mr Baker has given his life to help the town, he is just pointing out that the costs to provide a public facility are over the top. As for those complaining about the 'eye sore'. I think it is really rather attractive. Obviously a lot of thought has gone into ensuring it is AS appealing as a car park can be! But lets be realistic, at the moment its a vast black piece of tarmac. That is an eye sore. There are minimal houses affected around its perimeter and the design is more than just a horrible mix of concrete and steel. I think spending a bit more to put wooden clad around it looks rather nice! For once lets all support what Holt desperately needs!

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    Florence

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • As someone else said, planning fees are set by Central Government legislation, they are not something that a local planning authority i.e. the Council has any discretion about. If he wants things changed I suggest he gets on the hotline to Eric Pickles to change the law!

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    Lord Horn

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Of course he should pay some sort of planning application fee. That's not the issue. It's a question of how much. £20,000 is unreasonable for what is partially - arguably primarily - a public facility.

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    The man on the Clapham Omnibus

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • As someone else said, planning fees are set by Central Government legislation, they are not something that a local planning authority i.e. the Council has any discretion about. If he wants things changed I suggest he gets on the hotline to Eric Pickles to change the law!

    Report this comment

    Lord Horn

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • As someone else said, planning fees are set by Central Government legislation, they are not something that a local planning authority i.e. the Council has any discretion about. If he wants things changed I suggest he gets on the hotline to Eric Pickles to change the law!

    Report this comment

    Lord Horn

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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