Housing developers boosted in West Norfolk by landmark ruling
- Credit: PA
Housing developers have had their hand strengthened in planning disputes in west Norfolk after a landmark ruling.
The local authority has said it has been forced to 'loosen its belt a couple of notches' when it comes to opposing controversial schemes, after a High Court judgment found it did not currently have enough land allocated for housing.
The ruling means planning applications that were previously unacceptable could now be granted permission by the council, or through appeal. Applications currently in the system will also be considered under the revised policy. The change has been introduced after West Norfolk Council lost its challenge in the High Court last month for permission granted to build 40 homes at the Fosters Recreation Ground in Clenchwarton, near King's Lynn.
The hearing heard that the council had less than a two-year supply of housing land, rather than the 7.5 years the authority believed it had using a different methodology in the calculation.
Under government rules, each council must have a five year supply and West Norfolk's shortfall has significantly weakened its ability to oppose schemes creating a greater presumption in favour of development in the area.
Geoff Hall, executive director of environment and planning at West Norfolk Council, stressed: 'This does not mean the situation could become a 'free-for-all' for planning in west Norfolk. There will still be controls in place.'
He added the issue also affects local authorities across the country as the central government demands more homes need to be built.
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One scheme that could be affected is Hopkins Homes' application to build 163 new homes in Hunstanton on a site which the council has identified as a possible development location over the next 12 years.
The planning team outlined the situation earlier this week to parish councils around the borough.