“I’m delighted that the government has listened” - MP’s joy as controversial Wymondham homes bid is “called in” for minister to decide
16:49 20 March 2014
A cabinet minister will make the final decision whether homes should be built on land overlooking Wymondham Abbey after his department responded to calls to directly intervene in a controversial planning application.
Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman wrote to Eric Pickles asking him to “call-in” a bid for 70 new homes in the River Tiffey Valley.
In a letter to the communities secretary, Mr Freeman argued that “granting planning permission here would send a devastating message to the people of Wymondham and South Norfolk” because it would “significantly harm the landscape”.
In a response, Nick Boles, parliamentary under-secretary of state for planning, said: “I have carefully considered your request, and have decided that the appeal should be recovered because of the particular circumstances.”
Government planning inspector Jeremy Sargent held a public inquiry into the plans over seven days in October and February after the applicant, the Fairfield Partnership, appealed against South Norfolk Council’s decision to refuse the application. He will now only make a recommendation for Mr Pickles to consider.
Mr Boles stressed: “My decision to recover the appeal cannot be seen as an indicator to the way it will ultimately be determined.”
Mr Freeman said: “I’m delighted that the government has listened to my representation about the need to preserve the integrity and beauty of the Tiffey Valley, Wymondham Abbey and the heritage of this beautiful market town.”
He said Wymondham needed “some new housing and infrastructure” but that it was also important to “preserve the landscape and heritage of the Abbey and the surrounding area”.
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