Call to ‘fight’ against controversial Watton homes plan

'The fight starts here' was the defiant message from a town councillor about a controversial planning application to build 69 homes in Watton.

Hopkins Homes have put forward the proposal to construct the properties off Saham Road after their original application to develop 91 properties on the same piece of land, submitted last year, was rejected by a government inspector last month.

Widespread criticisim from residents included fears about poor drainage, traffic, the design and layout of the affordable homes and the location of the site, which falls outside the town's settlement boundary. Breckland Council and Watton Town Council also opposed the scheme.

At a town council planning and forward development committee meeting, chairman Keith Gilbert said: 'The fight starts here.'

Committee members voted unanimously against the planning application, which will go to Breckland Council for further discussion. Ron Upton, from Blackhorse Close, Watton, who spoke on behalf of worried residents, said Watton's infrastructure would not be able to cope with the proposed development, which would not be 'sustainable'.

He added: 'There are few employment opportunities for the young people of Watton, our medical services are stretched and if the houses are built who is going to buy them?' If built, the proposed development will include 27 affordable homes, an area of open public space and a new vehicular access.

A report supporting the latest application said: 'Hopkins Homes Ltd has established an enviable reputation for developing well designed, high-quality award-winning residential development that harmonises and adds interest to its local context.'

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Breckland Council is expected to make a decision on the application by early December.