Caister group’s vow to fight on against housing development

Diggers start work at Pointers East, in Caister/Ormesby

Diggers start work at Pointers East, in Caister/Ormesby - Credit: Supplied

Caister residents have vowed to 'never turn back' in their fight against a housing development, as diggers moved onto the site this week.

Proposed site of a new housing development at Pointers east, Caister.

Proposed site of a new housing development at Pointers east, Caister. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The group are opposed to the 189 homes proposed for the site known as Pointers East, as it has been revealed that government will not rule on the matter, effectively giving the development the go ahead subject to final conditions.

The development on the fringes of Caister and Ormesby was referred to Secretary of State for Housing Greg Clark, in November, following a heated development control meeting, where planning councillors ultimately voted seven to five in favour of the application.

But because of the strength of the opposition - which saw more than 100 villagers from Caister alone attending the meeting, holding up signs with messages such as 'don't destroy our village' and 'remember who you represent' - it was decided the final decision would be made by government. There was also a substantial number of ormesby villagers present.

However in a letter seen by the Mercury from the Department of Communities and Local Government, it was decided that the application would not be considered by government and the Secretary of State 'is content that it should be determined by the local planning authority.'

This decision ends a holding order which prevented the decision being issued while under government consideration. And although planning permission hasn't been formally approved yet, due to decisions to be made on the developers' contribution to infrastructure, work has begun.

Diggers have been on site, between the Caister bypass (Jack Chase Way) and Ormesby Road, to conduct contamination surveys and archaeological trenching since early in the week, which is work that does not require planning permission as they do not constitute development.

Most Read

The plans have been criticised by some due to the uncertain position of the development within both the parish of Ormesby which will benefit from the parish precept, and the school catchment area of Caister.

Caister parish councillor Lynne Connell has been vocal about her opposition to the housing. She said: 'In the letter sent to GYBC but not released to the people of Caister or sent to the Parish Council, it states that the Secretary of State seriously considered this application. He obviously did not seriously consider the opposition made by a large number of villagers both in writing and by attending the Development Control meeting. Valid, real and honest objections and worries of local people who will be affected by this development.

'This week alone it has been made public that there is already a waiting list of over 100 for the only local NHS dentist. This can only worsen when there is an influx of over 350 more people. The power it is stated is given back to the local people, in this case the local people have been made powerless by The Secretary of State refusing to look thoroughly at this application.

'Caister people never turn back, and I for one will continue to do the best I can to ensure that the people of Caister have a fair hearing in this matter and the identity of our village be preserved for further generations to come.'

However, Ormesby Parish Council has been generally supportive of the plans. Chairman, Geoff Freeman, said: 'We went to the meeting at the town hall and we tried to be constructive, because that land was earmarked for development.

'I've always found that working with people is the best way to get results, so that's what we'll be doing.'

Laura Townes, planning manager for Persimmon Homes Anglia, said: 'Following the decision by the Secretary of State not to overrule the borough council, we have commenced archaeological works ahead of receipt of planning consent.

'As we have experienced a very high level of registrations from local people interested in living at this location, we aim to make an immediate start on site on receipt of the formal consents.'