December 10 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 2, 2013
Campaigners hailed a ‘victory for common sense’ as plans to build 200 houses on the outskirts of Heacham were shot down.
They clapped and cheered as West Norfolk councillors voted unanimously to throw out the scheme at a packed King’s Lynn Town Hall.
Before the vote was taken, parish council chairman Peter Colvin addressed the meeting.
“I am here today to emphasise to the committee the strength of local opposition,” he said. “Heacham is already a large village and has lost much of its green spaces to housing.
“Over 20 years ago, a line was drawn around the built environment to restrict development sprawl and to preserve the countryside.
“The parish council can see no real justification for development on this scale outside the village development boundary, especially when there are other areas close by that have been identified for development.
“At the public meeting, Heacham residents told us that they didn’t want this level of development. This is not nimbyism, this is localism.”
Heacham borough councillor Stephanie Smeaton also spoke out against the plans.
“Experts in the field have spoken up very clearly against the proposal,” she said.
“If this development does get built the A149 would become the biggest car park in East Anglia.
“Every week there is an accident in Heacham, they are not all reported but you can always hear angry shouting.
“We are a tourism area and people will be put off coming by all the queues.”
Fellow ward councillor Colin Manning said: “The real issue is a single entrance and exit into the site.
“This road is very busy and you would have hold ups back to Snettisham.”
The decision means Heacham residents and their parish council, who were backed by the EDP, have won round one of the battle against major development in their village.
But while Heacham Parish Council was pleased by the decision, developers Townsfolk and Broadland Housing could launch an appeal.
After the meeting, parish clerk Philippa Sewell said: “We are very pleased that we got a unanimous vote. We were always hopeful but that is what we were looking for, a very strong message to the developers.
“There will be a period of reflection but we remain committed to opposing this sort of large scale development in Heacham.”
Mr Colvin added: “We are very happy with the planning meeting’s decision. But I would expect the developers to appeal as they have a lot invested in the scheme.
“We will stand up to them until they come back with plans that are viable. We now have to take stock and get ready to go again should we need to.”
Villager Dudley Scott, 69, of Neville Road, who attended the meeting, said he was pleased by the decision.
“The right decision has been made,” he said. Heacham is a village and hopefully Heacham will always remain a village.”
Townsfolk and Broadland Housing wanted to develop land between the A149 coast road and School Road, which is currently open fields.
But councillors were recommended to turn it down. A report by planning officials said it was “a considerable incursion into open countryside”, adding services in the area were not adequate to support it.
Andrew Savage, chief executive of Broadland Housing, said that he was disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
“Of course it is disappointing,” he said. “We have got to reassess the plans.
“We have three options available to us either continue with the application, change it or withdraw it.
“At the moment only time will tell what will happen. I think there is a need for housing with care in Heacham.”