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Plans for 130 homes on outskirts of Downham Market turned down

PUBLISHED: 12:19 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:41 03 April 2017

The site off Nightingale Road, Downham Market. Picture: Ian Burt

The site off Nightingale Road, Downham Market. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Councillors today voted down plans for 130 new homes in Downham Market.

Isle of Man-based developers the Grosvenor Partnership were given the go-ahead for 170 houses beside the A1122, on the southern outskirts of the town. They then applied to build a further 130, saying that the site could accommodate them.

West Norfolk council’s planning committee had been recommended to approve the additional homes by planning officers. But today councillors went against this and voted unanimously to refuse them.

Earlier Downham Market Town Council had also voted unanimously to recommend refusal. Frank Daymond, the town’s deputy mayor, said it currently faced “unprecedented numbers of major development applications”.

He said the council was concerned at the number of homes proposed for the site, adding the town’s infrastructure would be unable to support a development of this size.

Planning consultant Richard Brown, speaking on behalf of the developers, said they were making an outline application which meant that the council could retain control of the density and design of the development. He asked councillors to approve the plans.

But ward councillor Jackie Westrop said the development would have been a step too far for Downham and would impact on the environment. She said it would not be sustainable and “failed the economic tests”.

Opponents feared Downham’s roads, GPs and schools could not cope with an extra 130 homes.

Concerns were also expressed at the siting of a new roundabout on the A1122 bypass, from which the new development would be accessed.

Councillors voted unanimously to refuse the applications on grounds of density and 9 - 6 to turn it down because the proposed roundabout was in the wrong place.

MORE: See how the debate unfolded here.

They were warned beforehand that the highways objection could be unsustainable without the support of Norfolk County Council.

Representatives of the developers left the meeting without commenting on the vote. The site, off Nightingale Lane, still has planning permission for 170 homes.

After the meeting, town councillors welcomed the decision.

North Ward representative Ros Turner said the proposed number of houses and the lack of amenities on the A1122 were the main reasons she rejected the plan, adding: “I’m pleased they turned it down, it’s a very nice surprise. It is a badly thought out plan and, in my view, a money-grabbing scheme.”

Councillor John Fox agreed, describing the location of the site as being too far away for Downham Market to benefit from. He said: “I am sorry there is going to be 170 homes but it’s an awful lot better than 300. Why on earth put a housing estate somewhere that is not part of the town?”

Councillor John Doyle said: “We’re all in favour of people having a place to live but the infrastructure can’t support it. This is not the end of it, Kings Lynn doesn’t much care what we think.”

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