West Norfolk approves 40 planning applications in two days (and rejects two) - here’s where they are
- Credit: IAN BURT
A two-day planning meeting in west Norfolk saw only two applications refused and almost 40 approved.
Over the course of the session, councillors approved the construction of a total of 235 homes, put off decisions on a further 199 and declined permission for just 19 homes, covered by two applications.
The meetings follow a High Court case last year which found that West Norfolk Council did not have sufficient land earmarked for development over the next five years, as is required by Whitehall. The revelation has led to concerns among locals and parish councils that it has weakened the hand of councillors in being able to resist some applications. They fear the developments will undermine the rural character of many areas.
Among those cases approved yesterday were:
- an outline application for 40 homes in Watlington, despite objection from the parish council
- two applications totalling 45 homes in Grimston.
Gayton residents fearing they might shoulder the burden of the five-year housing supply could breathe a brief sigh of relief as councillors voted to adjourn their decision concerning almost 100 homes in the village for a site visit.
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The pressures created by the lack of a five-year plan has caused frustrations among councillors. Objecting to an application for 29 homes near Allen's Garage in Gayton, Councillor Geoffrey Wareham said: 'With the lack of a five-year plan it doesn't mean we can't take such applications by the scruff of the neck and deal with them. It's outlandish what we are being asked to do and what we are being asked to pass by officers. It's not acceptable to the residents of Gayton it's not acceptable to me and I doubt it's acceptable to any members of the committee.
'We have the right to turn these down and put them in front of the inspector. I am sure they won't pass this volume of housing in one site.'
A council spokesman said they 'had a duty' to follow government guidance but always wished to take account of local opinion, adding authorities often had to tread a difficult path between the two.
Councillors will also visit a site in Methwold, which is earmarked for 30 houses.
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