The Long, Pointless Saga of the Norton Arch

An Arch at the Norton Park Holiday Centre caused and argument that ran for more than a year from 1969 into 1970.

The archway at the entrance to the holiday park before the Norton Bends on the outskirts of the town had obtained planning permission in 1968, with no comment from anyone.

However that had been for an ‘open box’ style arch made of wrought iron. But then the owners decided they wanted instead a wooden archway – in the style of a grand prix bridge. They consulted the divisional planning officer and got his permission to change the design.

However they didn’t get his permission to move the arch tens of feet forward to be right on the road. This was done to ‘increase safety’ because cars following those behind visitors to the park would ‘not be surprised’ by them ‘suddenly’ turning in.

The borough council were horrified. Councillors described it as ‘like the entrance to a nuclear power station’. They immediately sent a notice to the park ordering them to ‘take it down’.

Cllr Irene Scawn said: ‘It is not a wrought iron arch as was indicated on the plans. We should tell them that it must come down. All they have done is put up something which they have decided is better. If it was a private householder who had contravened a planning application we would order them to conform.’

One of the owners of the park, Eric Waldron, was so angry he slammed the council for the ‘eyesores’ it had allowed to be built, which he said ruined the visits of his customers, whilst persecuting his park.

The arch continued to inspire comment and argument, but stayed resolutely where it was until the next October when high winds brought the thing down, much to the relief of many but the consternation of the owners – it was not replaced.



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