A controversial countryside events venue which has attracted complaints from neighbours over its “Ibiza-style parties” will be allowed to keep a series of features built without proper permission.

South Norfolk Council (SNC) has approved a retrospective planning application for Hill House, a huge 17th century property in Saxlingham Nethergate which can be rented out for corporate events and parties, as well as hen and stag groups. 

The application covers a series of structures which have already been built on the site, including new fencing, decking, basketball hoops and astroturf. 

Eastern Daily Press: Hill House Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Denise Bradley/Newsquest) (Image: Denise Bradley/Newsquest)Hill House Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Denise Bradley/Newsquest) (Image: Denise Bradley/Newsquest) (Image: Denise Bradley/Newsquest)

The property, owned by businessman and hedge fund founder Darren Swayne, has long been hugely controversial among locals, with one even getting himself elected to the district council with a pledge to tackle the issue.

Villagers say they have had to put up with excessive noise and drunken shouting from the site, as well as adults running through the quiet streets playing tag.

Following complaints, Mr Swayne was forced to submit a separate application earlier this year checking if using the site for large events was authorised. It was rejected by SNC. Eastern Daily Press: Village sign in Saxlingham NethergateVillage sign in Saxlingham Nethergate (Image: LDRS)

Council officials told the planning committee considering the recent application that none of the new works were “particularly unsympathetic” and “don’t really compromise any neighbouring property”. 

Mr Swayne said heritage officers had visited the site and seemed happy. 

He was supported by several neighbours at the meeting and read out a statement from one.  

It said: “I've not been offended or disturbed by any developments at Hill House. The additions to the grounds - basketball hoops, astroturf, fencing and decking - are all minimal and are in keeping with the environment."

Clifford Lee Smith, a supporting neighbour also read out a statement accusing the new district councillor, John Cook, of leading a “sustained campaign” against Mr Swayne. 

Mr Cook - who was elected after a campaign vowing to address local concerns about the venue -spoke on behalf of 44 objecting residents, claiming the application was aimed at supporting the unauthorised use of the site.

Eastern Daily Press: John Cook's election leaflet

Both Mr Cook and Mr Smith were told the unauthorised use of the site was not being considered by the committee, with the focus being on the new structures. 

The application was approved with seven in favour, two abstentions and none against.