Council seeks advice to protect village plan
A parish council has agreed to fund legal advice to help protect a church in Easton from controversial plans to widen a nearby road.
Peter Milliken, chairman of Easton Parish Council, claims proposals to widen Church Lane will “cut-off” Saint Peter’s Church from the village.
The route will be required to access land due to be developed into the new Food Enterprise Park (FEP) near Easton.
But the road needs to be widened with passing bays before that can happen.
Mr Milliken claimed the changes will result in the road being regularly used by heavy goods vehicles seven-days-a-week.
He said not only will this impact the nearby church, but will compromise the parish’s adopted neighbourhood plan.
“Our neighbourhood plan under policy one and four sought to protect this area and its heritage,” Mr Milliken said.
“If this road expansion takes place, parts of the wild meadow will be lost.
“Potentially the future use of this wonderful historic church of St Peter Easton will be lost.
“If we allow this to go through without doing anything about it, when all this housing comes in [in the future] developers will walk all over us because they will say we had not enforced our neighbourhood plan.”
Mr Milliken said the parish council had agreed to spend £4,000 on legal advice.
He said the council will seek guidance on how it can protect and enforce the policies in its neighbourhood plan.
A spokesman for Broadland District Council said the road widening plans were yet to go before a planning committee.
The spokesman said any decision made by the committee will take into account the neighbourhood plan.
James Alston, from the Food Enterprise Park, said: “The Food Enterprise Park is proud to be investing in improved pedestrian access and a safer crossing to St Peter’s Church.
“The works located on the old A47 will enhance both the safety of users and the linkage between the residents of Easton and the church. Additional proposed works along Church Lane will ensure the residents of Easton can walk to new employment opportunities in the future long after the A47 improvements scheduled for 2021/2022 have removed the vehicular traffic [Church Lane].