Planners recommend refusal of 300-home Aylsham scheme

A 300-home development on the edge of Aylsham that could free up land to improve the high school's facilities is being recommended for refusal.

The Welback Strategic Land outline application for a 90-acre meadows site north of Sir Williams Lane was in April backed by Aylsham Town Council with a number of provisos.

But a report to Wednesday's Broadland District Council planning committee said the scheme would be an 'unjustifiable incursion into the countryside'.

It added that the community benefit of giving land to the school to be developed as a family sports village for school and community use was 'not sufficiently compelling' to go against the development plan.

In the report, Norfolk County Council's highways department said the proposed mitigation measures did not address the potential impacts of the development on the local transport network, while 'not enough' was being done to improve pedestrian access into the town.

Broadland's conservation officer took issue with the four-storey blocks that are part of the proposed development, and said: 'It is too high and does not reflect even the far denser historic development in the centre of Aylsham, which reaches a maximum of three storeys.'

The officer criticised a 'very unimaginative layout' of semi-detached houses.

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Consideration of the application on its own has come despite pleas by the applicant and by members of the town council to take it alongside a proposal by the Youngs farming family, for 250 homes, a clubhouse and a 10 football pitches to the west of St Michael's Hospital.

The scheme has also been backed by the town council, which has acknowledged that Broadland's core strategy allows for a minimum of 300 new homes in Aylsham.

The report into the Welbeck scheme includes six letters of support and 22 letters against.

Welbeck proposes to develop in three phases over a six-year period, with the intention of creating an 'entrance to Aylsham'.