Stalemate over controversial Cromer homes plan

A developer has been told to make a series of amendments to a controversial 50-home plan on the edge of Cromer.

Hopkins Homes wants to build 44 houses and six flats on a 1.7ha site known as the Railway Triangle, which is bounded by the Cromer to Norwich line, a disused former branch line and The Avenue off Norwich Road.

Today, North Norfolk District Council's development control committee heard objections from Northrepps Parish Council, whose patch the land falls in, and residents living nearby.

Resident Clive Foden said a three-storey block at the north of the site would overlook and obscure existing houses, and was unhappy with the design of the development, which 'could be anywhere'.

There were also concerns about The Avenue being used as a 'rat run', and calls for the houses to be 'more in keeping with Cromer'.

Local member Angie Fitch-Tillett said: 'There are all sorts of really serious problems with this. Nobody doesn't want the development, but they want it to be right.'

She accused Hopkins Homes of a 'disappointing lack of co-operation' in attempting to address the residents' concerns.

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Chris Smith, development planner for Hopkins Homes, said: 'We've undertaken in excess of a year of negotiations. Wherever possible we've tried to amend the plans to accommodate concerns. We are proposing a high quality development to enhance the area.'

Members voted to defer the application to allow officers and the developer to negotiate over the outstanding issues.

At one point, it was proposed and seconded to reject the proposal outright. But head of planning Steve Oxenham said it would result in a 'potential appeal'.

He pointed out that the piece of land had been earmarked for a 50-home development in the local development framework, and added: 'If you want to refuse it, you have to be exceptionally careful that you don't choke off the development altogether.'