Council rejects revised plan for stalled Diss Long Meadow homes development

A stalled homes development has been left in limbo after councillors threw out a revised planning application which would have resulted in a considerable cut in funding for school places.

South Norfolk Council's planning committee was unhappy developer C-Zero had dropped a commitment to provide �552,997 towards school facilities and other community projects, which was agreed when the council originally approved C-Zero's plans to build 114 homes at Long Meadow between Denmark Lane and Roydon Road.

A report from planning officer Gary Hancox said the loss of the cash would have a 'significant' impact on the two main schools in the area, Roydon Primary School and Diss High School where there was no spare capacity.

However, C-Zero director Robert Pearson warned Wednesday's meeting rejecting the revised plan for 102 homes, including 29 already built, could mean the developer would no longer be able to provide affordable housing for residents on the council's waiting list and would instead have to sell the homes on the open market.

As part of the revised application, the developer offered �286,680 towards community funding, but this sum would be paid at a later date and was dependent on equity loan purchasers buying the rest of the unsold equity in their home.

Of the extra 73 homes to be built, 25 will be available on equity loan, with 61 as affordable homes, 19 available for rent and 17 for shared home ownership. The other 12 homes will be available on the open market.

The original plans stalled with just 29 of the 114 homes built after mortgage lenders refused to provide funding for the Discounted Market Sale agreements, whereby the homes would have been sold at less than market value.

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But the discount agreement has been dropped in the revised plans in favour of alternative arrangements.

Diss town clerk Deborah Sarson told the meeting the town council had 'some sympathy' with C-Zero, which had exhausted all avenues to get the development done, but could not accept the possible loss of nearly �600,000 community funding.

She added: 'There is no doubt that, now started, this development should now be completed for the benefit of everyone. However, we would suggest that this should not be completed at the expense of affordability.'

The developer was also banking on receiving funding from the government's Get Britain Building Fund after the site was listed among 224 building projects chosen to receive cash from a �570m pot to help re-start work on stalled homes developments.

However, C-Zero director Simon Linford warned a planning refusal could result in the developer missing out on this funding.

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