Plans to extend efforts to re-establish a rare bird as a breeding species in Norfolk have been put on hold by councillors.

Conservationist Andrew Crean applied for planning permission to build a warden's bungalow and aviaries at Burnham Deepdale, near Hunstanton.

Mr Crean, who has restored former farmland at Marsh Farm to freshwater marsh, hopes to encourage ruff to breed by introducing young waders reared in aviaries to the site.

But West Norfolk council's planning committee decided to defer a decision on the proposals for further information.

Eastern Daily Press: Andrew Crean hopes to re-establish the ruff as a breeding species at Deepdale MarshAndrew Crean hopes to re-establish the ruff as a breeding species at Deepdale Marsh (Image: David Hosking)

Councillors were earlier recommended to refuse the application by officers, who said there was insufficient information to demonstrate the need for a new dwelling.

Concerns were also raised over increased use of the farm's access onto the main A149 coast road, which was described as "sub-standard".

READ MORE: Deepdale meeting hears 'bold action' needed for wildlife

Councillor Tom de Winton said: "As a council either we're going to encourage conservation projects or we're not - it's quite simple."

Describing Mr Crean as "somebody who's trying to do some good in the world", he added he needed help in the shape of accommodation for a warden, while having a home for one on site would reduce the number of vehicles coming and going. 

Eastern Daily Press: A male ruff performs its breeding displayA male ruff performs its breeding display (Image: Mark Andrew)But Chris Crofts said: "We're a planning committee, not a conservation committee. Planning, that's what we go on, we need planning reasons for this."

Alun Ryves said the council was trying to "shoehorn" a conservation project into a policy designed for rural business.

Councillors heard it was not clear who owned the hedgerow on either side of the access and whether a visibility splay could be added.

They voted 12 - 2 in favour of deferring the application for more information, with one abstention.