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Planning applications triple in West Norfolk as council caught short by lack of land

PUBLISHED: 08:01 01 October 2015 | UPDATED: 08:01 01 October 2015

A view of King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

A view of King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

Planning applications in West Norfolk have more than tripled compared with last year, as the local authority still cannot prove that adequate land is available for housing.

The increase in applications came as developers had their hands strengthened after a High Court judgment found West Norfolk Council had failed to meet government standards in allocating land for homes.

Sixteen applications were submitted during August and September last year, whereas the most recent figures reveal that planners are handling 54 applications from the same period in 2015.

Alan Gomm, from West Norfolk Council, said: “In the two months of August and September 2014, there were 16 planning applications which were submitted and 32 units came out of that from those planning applications. In August and September this year we have found that 54 planning applications have been submitted –and we are not quite at the end of the month.”

He added: “In total, that could lead to 541 dwellings and those are placed at a mixture of sites around the borough.”

The council was forced to alter its position on opposing controversial schemes when it lost a High Court challenge for permission that was granted to build 40 homes in Clenchwarton, near King’s Lynn.

It was found not to have the adequate housing supply, but Mr Gomm explained the surge in applications had been a significant step forward.

He was speaking as a hearing into the future of planning across the borough reconvened yesterday after it was previously adjourned earlier in the year.

David Hogger, a government-appointed planning inspector, returned to King’s Lynn to examine the sites for hundreds of new homes in West Norfolk and said he was unaware of the Clenchwarton decision.

Yesterday’s hearing revisited the issues which the council was required to address further, including flood-risk and the impact development could have on conservation.

While Mr Gomm said his team had worked adequately with the Environment Agency, discussions challenged the council’s work on strategic flood risk assessments.

There were also proposals to charge developers working on the allocated sites £50 for each home to protect conservation areas and green open space.

The hearings will now move into more site-specific areas around West Norfolk which have been allocated to the scheme. Today, sites in King’s Lynn and West Winch will be reviewed.

Is there a particular planning scheme which could affect you? Email our reporter Louise Hepburn at louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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