December 11 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Angry residents have demanded the outright rejection of a blueprint outlining where new homes should be built in their town.
At a lively Downham Town Council meeting, they said the idea of building 400 homes in the town and surrounding villages did not represent the views of people in the area. But town mayor David Sharman said the council had been as fair as possible, adding: “We are not councillors just for that particular area – we represent the whole town.”
About 35 residents attended last night’s planning and environment committee, where the local development framework for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk – which says that 16,500 new homes need to be built by 2026 to meet the needs of a growing population – was being discussed.
They raised a number of concerns about the suggestion of putting the 400 homes in and around Downham.
Resident Jonathan Toye was applauded warmly when he said: “I really would urge you to think carefully about the separate identity of the villages and total loss of arable land for growing our food.”
Mr Toye suggested that already built up areas should be “filled in” with properties, whereas others raised concerns about flooding and infrastructure.
Mr Sharman told residents the town council’s position was that it did not want any homes - but that in the event it had to make room for 400, it was better to share the burden across the area by splitting the development into smaller chunks.
“All we can do is to be as fair as possible to everyone affected,” Mr Sharman said before the meeting. “That’s why we suggested 100 homes on each site, rather than having them all in one place.”
He also said the town council was trying to reduce the number of homes planned for the area, as there was currently a planning application for 97 homes in Railway Road going through.
Fellow town councillor Malcolm Starreveld said: “We may not want it but regardless of that, we have to meet those requirements to meet the government’s desire to build more homes. We are just following what we have been asked to do.”
He also pointed out town and parish councils did not have the final say - they could only make suggestions, which the borough council could then choose to either accept or reject.
Wimbotsham resident Kelvin Loveday, who has been campaigning against the proposals, handed out forms at the meeting to encourage people to write to the borough council to make clear any concerns they had about the plans.
The consultation, which has been running for the past 10 weeks, is due to finish on Friday. Details of the proposals and how to comment are available on the borough council’s website and at council offices and libraries.
Mr Loveday said before the meeting: “We are looking for the town council’s submission to be removed because it does not represent the people of Downham Market.”