A controversial bid to build 180 homes in a Norfolk town has been backed by councillors - despite a council leader saying the developers are "squeezing" too many houses on the site.

Norfolk County Council leader Kay Mason Billig had urged a rethink over Hopkins Homes' plans for Loddon, which she represents as a county councillor.

Eastern Daily Press: Kay Mason Billig, county councillor for Loddon and leader of Norfolk County CouncilKay Mason Billig, county councillor for Loddon and leader of Norfolk County Council (Image: Norfolk County Council)

But members of South Norfolk Council's planning committee agreed, by eight votes to one, to approve the proposals.

The plans, for 18.7 acres of land east of Beccles Road, include 171 homes and a further nine self-build plots, plus children's play space.

Eastern Daily Press: 180 homes are planned for Beccles Road in Loddon180 homes are planned for Beccles Road in Loddon (Image: Google)

Loddon Town Council and 28 people had objected, citing loss of farmland, impact on existing homes, extra traffic and whether doctors and dentists could cope with more patients.


Conservative Mrs Mason Billig told the committee meeting that planning officers had "not covered themselves in glory" and that the proposals should have been taken off the table so a better scheme could be thrashed out.

She said: "This has been quite a contentious issue in Loddon. I don't think local people are against development and they understand the need for affordable housing.

"We have made our position clear and asked for changes throughout the process.

"We are squeezing 180 houses on to a site which really should not take that many unless you have quite serious layout change.

"I am at a loss as to why this has come here today. I did try very hard to postpone it so we could have further consultation with Hopkins, developers and planning officers."

Eastern Daily Press: The site off Beccles RoadThe site off Beccles Road (Image: Google)

READ MORE: How two words left Norfolk's plans for thousands of homes in limbo

Loddon town councillor Mervyn Pointer said the play area should be in the centre of the development, not close to a new access road, as that could be dangerous.

Ian Douglass, from planning consultants Lanpro said, on behalf of Hopkins Homes, that the play area was felt to be in a suitable location and the scheme would provide a good mix of homes.

He said the scheme, which is not caught up in the nutrient neutrality limbo blocking councils from approving new homes in parts of Norfolk, could be completed by mid-2028.

After the meeting, Jonathan Lieberman, head of planning at Hopkins Homes, said he was pleased permission had been granted.

He said: "There will be a range of house types available including bungalows, flats, and two, three and four-bedroom homes with a traditional appearance that preserves the rural character of Loddon.

"The development will bring significant benefits to the local community, including open space for public recreation, enhancements to improve and sustain nature and biodiversity in the area, and economic benefits during construction, along with the availability of Community Infrastructure Levy funding.

"There will also be highway and transport improvements in the local area, such as an extended 20mph zone and widening of existing footway and cycleway to the front of the site."