You may recall from our previous Update that the Melton Constable Trust has been directly involved with Holt Town Council’s Holt Neighbourhood Plan project for the past three years.
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the Localism Act 2011, enabling communities to play a much stronger role in shaping the area in which they live and work. They provide the framework for communities to set out a vision for how they want their community to develop over the next twenty years in ways that meet identified local need and make sense for local people.
This is the area covered by the Holt Neighbourhood Plan; it covers the entire Parish of Holt (outlined in red on map).
Late in 2022 the Holt Neighbourhood Plan was sent for assessment by an Independent Examiner and, once he was satisfied, subjected to a Local Referendum by Holt residents, who approved the Neighbourhood Plan by 83%.
North Norfolk District Council formally adopted the Holt Neighbourhood Plan in August 2023, which means it now forms part of the statutory Development Plan for North Norfolk. Planning decisions in this area must now be made following policies in the Holt Neighbourhood Plan and wider Development Plan.
Melton Constable Trust has been engaged with the Holt Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group from its inception and we are pleased to be able to say that the Norfolk Orbital Railway proposals for reinstating rail services to Holt town is fully supported by the Holt Neighbourhood Plan Policy HOLT7 Community Aspirations.
Paragraphs 7.3 to 7.8 The Future of Rail Travel for Holt details the options to return a railway connection to the town, and makes use of information provided by Melton Constable Trust. Paragraph 7.8 says:
Holt Town Council supports the aspiration to build a railway into Holt as it could establish a link with the Bittern Line, thus enabling people who live in and around Holt to travel by train to locations including Sheringham, Cromer and Norwich. This extended rail link will assist members of the public to travel to and from new, as well as existing, places of work, will attract more visitors to Holt, reduce the acute pressure for additional car parking and enhance local business opportunities. Further, it will enable the NNR to take its heritage trains into Holt, which will further raise its importance as the major tourist attraction in North Norfolk. Consequently, the above could result in a reduction in social exclusion, increased economic activity and fewer road accidents. The use of modern trains will bring significant environmental benefits, including taking traffic off the roads and a reduction in greenhouse gases.
There is a considerable amount of work to do, ranging from liaising with North Norfolk Railway, Greater Anglia, Network Rail, district and county Councils, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and other statutory bodies, through to designing a new station, a crossing for the old Cromer Road – not to mention the massive challenge of raising the money! With the support of the Holt Neighbourhood Plan, however, we feel that the need is now fully recognised and we are working hard to move this forward.
Anyone reading this Update who would like to become part of our Norfolk Orbital Railway team, please get in touch either through messaging the Facebook page or email: firstname.lastname@example.org