Plans for dozens of homes on a wedge of green land in a coastal town look set to go ahead despite being in an area protected from development.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) officials have recommended a “major” development between Overstand Road and Northrepps Road in Cromer be given the green light. 

The proposal will see 118 homes and 60 specialist elderly care places built on a 15.8 acre site in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) near the town's Happy Valley and golf course.

AONBs are designated zones which have extra protections against development. 

Eastern Daily Press: An illustration from Gladman's documents of how the site in Cromer could be laid out (Image: Gladman)An illustration from Gladman's documents of how the site in Cromer could be laid out (Image: Gladman) (Image: Gladman)

The application recommended for approval next Thursday will also see 3.23 acres set aside for open space with a drainage system intended to prevent flooding.  

The bid covers only the broad outlines of the scheme. Details relating to how the estate will look and the exact number of homes will be covered by a future submission.

Some 47 locals and parish councils have written to object to the scheme. 

A letter from Cromer Town Council's clerk to NNDC said: “A major development in the AONB must be truly exceptional, or the circumstances must be truly exceptional.  

“The Town Council do not believe these conditions have been met. 

“The development would result in a significant detrimental impact on perspectives of the AONB from the town."

While NNDC planning officers acknowledge that development in the protected area would normally be contrary to council policy, they argue there are "exceptional circumstances".

These include that the council cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of land for housing and if rejected it would increase pressure on other areas. 

They said: "The development would have a positive impact on the local economy. 

“And whilst acknowledging that this site is within the AONB it is on the very edge of it and has been used as a golf practice area as recently as around 20 years ago. 

“It is considered that there are no preferable alternative ways of meeting the housing need."