Council’s land supply for housing challenged at Heacham inquiry

The proposed housing development site on School Road, Heacham. Picture: Ian Burt

The proposed housing development site on School Road, Heacham. Picture: Ian Burt

West Norfolk Council's claim that it now has enough land allocated for housing across the borough has been scrutinised at a public inquiry into a proposed development in Heacham.

The council announced last month that it once again has a five-year supply of housing sites and now the calculations are being thoroughly analysed as part of an ongoing planning saga.

Broadland Housing Association and Townsfolk Ltd is challenging the authority's decision to refuse outline planning permission for a care home and housing development in Heacham.

During the second day of proceedings, part of the developer's argument involved challenging the borough council's latest land supply figures which are now said to meet government's five-year requirements.

The developer's barrister Gregory Jones told the inquiry that West Norfolk Council's previous track record of 'under delivery' of housing over the last 15 years should also be taken into consideration.

While cross-examining Peter Jermany from West Norfolk Council's planning department, he said: 'When you look back at the numbers over the years, there is a theme of persistent under delivery emerging in accordance to the council's annual target [of 660 homes].'

But Mr Jermany insisted there would be 'ups and downs' to delivering the target and the figures relating to housing supply were robust.

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Do you have a west Norfolk story? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk