A Norfolk MP has called on a district council to refuse proposals for new homes on a greenfield area in Wymondham because of the potential harm to the setting of the historic Abbey.

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Controversial plans were submitted by a developer in August for 70 new houses off Chapel Lane in the town, which have prompted concern from local residents, councillors and Friends of the Tiffey Valley group.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has now issued his opposition to the scheme by the Fairland Partnership over concerns about the impact on the Tiffey Valley and Wymondham Abbey.

The Conservative MP has written to the chief executive of South Norfolk Council, Sandra Dinneen, urging the local authority to refuse the application when it comes before councillors.

Mr Freeman said he had “grave” reservations about the outline plans for the Chapel Lane site and had received “numerous” letters from concerned residents.

He said that the development would pose a severe impact on the area and a “deleterious” effect on the overall view on approaching Wymondham from the north west, and partially obscuring views of the Abbey.

“The Tiffey Valley is a key landscape asset of the whole town, recognised by English Heritage as a heritage asset, and the important view across the site from Chapel Lane to the Abbey needs to be retained for the benefit of all the residents of Wymondham, and the many visitors who come here to enjoy it,” he said.

The South Norfolk market town is earmarked for 2,200 news homes by 2026 as part of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership’s Joint Core Strategy (JCS).

However, the site at Chapel Lane runs contrary to the JCS and Local Development Framework and would put a green corridor plan for the Lizard area, Tolls Meadow and Becketswell in jeopardy, said Mr Freeman.

He added that Wymondham could grow without causing damage to its special qualities if new homes are suitably located, designed, and supported by the necessary infrastructure and facilities.

David Hook, chairman of the planning group at CPRE Norfolk has also written to oppose the plans, saying Wymondham was already “overwhelmed” by housing expansion.

South Norfolk Councillors are set to discuss the Chapel Lane scheme next month or in January.

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