Six day public inquiry into 650 new homes either side of A11 at Cringleford begins

Land at Cringleford next to the A11 where new homes could be built.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Land at Cringleford next to the A11 where new homes could be built.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A six-day public inquiry into proposals for 650 homes either side of the A11 near Cringleford has begun.

Developers appealed the decision by South Norfolk Council to turn down an application for new homes near the existing Roundhouse Way development last July.

Land Fund Limited, a group of landowners, appealed against the council's refusal to grant outline permission for a mix of one to five bedroom homes, a third of which would be affordable, and 2.500 square metres of commercial space.

One of the council's reasons for refusal was that some land proposed for the development would be needed at a later date to make improvements to the Thickthorn interchange between the A11 and A47.

Jeremy Cahill, a barrister representing the developers, said in his opening remarks: 'Whether land is likely to be required will be at the heart of this inquiry and will be central to determining its outcome.'

The council's other reasons for refusing permission were that it was not acceptable that proposed playing pitches would be separated by the A11 and that not enough information had been provided about the impact of the retail element of the development on other shopping areas.

At the start of proceedings South Norfolk Council made an appeal to the planning inspector overseeing the inquiry, Clive Hughes, for the proceedings to be adjourned on the grounds that the council had not had enough time to analyse some data submitted by the developers.

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This request was turned down after the appellant agreed this evidence would not form part of their case.

Asitha Ranatunga, a barrister representing the council, said as part of his opening statement: 'The Thickthorn interchange improvements are critical to cater for the additional traffic arising from planned housing and the science park growth.'

Mr Ranatunga went on to say that the developers proposals impinge on an area of land likely to be required to improve the interchange between the A11 and A47.

In his concluding remarks Mr Cahill said: 'Refusal of planning permission was unreasonable as was continued resistance to the appeal,' adding: 'The site needs to be released for housing as the Cringleford Neighbourhood Development Plan intends without any further delay.'

Evidence from all sides will be considered by Mr Hughes who will make a recommendation to the government's communities secretary, Greg Clark, who will make the final decision.

The public inquiry continues at South Norfolk Council's offices with highways matters being dealt with yesterday and today, housing land supply today and tomorrow and the planning balance tomorrow and Friday.

The inquiry will continue next week with any other business and closing statements.

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