MP hailed for his views on Heacham housing and care home in Heacham

Residents in Heacham with their 'Keep Heacham a Village' banner at the start of a planning inquiry

Residents in Heacham with their 'Keep Heacham a Village' banner at the start of a planning inquiry - Credit: Archant

An MP received a round of applause from the public gallery after he shared his views of a development at the centre of a long-term planning saga.

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

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

People expressed their appreciation after North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham appeared as a witness at a public inquiry that will decide whether the outline planning for a scheme should go ahead.

Broadland Housing Association and Townsfolk Ltd is challenging West Norfolk Council's decision to refuse outline planning permission for a care home and housing development in Heacham, near Hunstanton.

But Sir Henry cited lack of public support, extra pressure on the doctor's surgery, traffic problems and impact on the countryside as among the reasons why he would not back the proposals. He was also critical of the developer's prior engagement with the public before the first application was submitted in March 2013.

Outside the inquiry, Sir Henry said: 'I felt it was important to speak to stand up for the residents of Heacham. Their whole way of life would be affected if this development went ahead in its entirety, and they are also campaigning hard to prevent the village being turned into a town.'


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He added: 'I'm not saying 'no' to some development on the site because part of it is brownfield; what I am saying 'no' to, however, is the scale.' Sir Henry attended the fourth day of the inquiry, which has now been extended from five to six days and is being led by the government-appointed planning inspector David Spencer.

During the proceedings, the council's claim that it now has enough land allocated for housing across the borough has been thoroughly scrutinised.

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Since it was unable to prove it could meet the government requirement last year, the authority has been flooded with hundreds of applications for housing developments across west Norfolk.

However, the council is being challenged on its calculations and has been accused of previously 'under delivering' when it comes to its target of ensure 660 homes are built in west Norfolk every year.

The public inquiry continues on Monday at Lynnsport.

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

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