Another 73 homes in Watton granted on appeal despite residents’ fears

Residents of Saham Road and Watton protest over the new housing plan for the area. Picture: Matthew

Residents of Saham Road and Watton protest over the new housing plan for the area. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Another 73 houses are set to be built in a market town after a planning application was approved on appeal.

Hopkins' Homes proposal for the site of Saham Road in Watton was approved following an appeal on April 6, despite strong objections from residents and town and district councillors.

Two previous applications on the site have been refused – one in 2010 for 91 homes, and one in 2011 for 69 homes – primarily because of its position outside Watton's settlement boundary.

In his report planning inspector David Prentis said concerns raised by Watton Town and Saham Toney Parish Councils, housing pressure group What Watton Wants, and local residents about the accumulation of proposed new homes in Watton 'did not add significantly to the case against the appeal'.

Keith Gilbert, Breckland district and Watton town councillor, called the decision 'very disappointing'.

What Watton Wants member Jo Jacklin said: 'We are losing another rural gateway into Watton and more green space is being lost.'

Mrs Jacklin said the roads around the proposed site were badly flooded during last month's heavy rain.

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'Everybody keeps saying that the drains will cope, but it is apparent to us as residents that they cannot cope. People are concerned about how they can protect their properties.'

In response to concerns about the flood risk, Mr Prentis quoted an officers' report on the site which claimed Anglian Water was 'content that the necessary improvements can be secured by a condition'.

However, Mr Gilbert said it should be clarified what the conditions will be and how they will be enforced.

In total 18 conditions were attached to the approval of the scheme, to mitigate the impact on the surrounding landscape and wildlife, improve highways safety, and outline a plan to manage flood risks.

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