December 10 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The next few days will determine whether controversial plans for up to 70 new homes, a play area and footpaths on land overlooking Wymondham Abbey get the go-ahead.
Up to 50 people from the town attended the start of a planning inquiry at South Norfolk Council’s offices in Long Stratton yesterday.
The inquiry is being held after the Fairfield Partnership appealed against the authority’s refusal to allow outline planning permission for the homes on a greenfield site in Chapel Lane.
An application was submitted by the Hertfordshire-based partnership in August last year, but nearly 300 people lodged their concerns with the council, which rejected the application in February.
An appeal was lodged in June and the case is now being heard by the planning inspectorate.
The application was originally refused on the grounds that the development was outside the development limit of the town, would significantly harm the landscape character and appearance of the area, represented inappropriate development in the Tiffey Valley and would have a harmful impact on the setting of the abbey, which is a Grade I listed building.
In his opening submissions, David Lintott, for the council, called for the appeal to be refused because the development would cause “substantial” harm to the character and appearance of the area.
Meanwhile, Peter Village QC, for the partnership, said new homes, including affordable housing, were needed in the area, and said the development would open up public access to the Tiffey Valley and give walkers better views of the abbey.
He added that the site was a sustainable location for residential development with its access to service and facilities, and could probably be delivered within the next five years.
Several witnesses on both sides of the debate are expected to give evidence in the next few days, and the inquiry is expected to end on Friday.
As reported, Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman, who is due to attend the inquiry today, has thrown his support behind the Friends of the Tiffey Valley, a campaign group opposing the plans.
Terry Povey, from the group, naturalist Mike Linley and landscape architect and town planner Luke Broom-Lynne are also expected to speak at the inquiry.
The land was not an area which was identified by the Wymondham Area Action Plan, which was created to help guide development in the town.