Developer appealing over refusal of plans for 150 new homes
- Credit: Denise Bradley
A Norfolk developer has followed through on its threat to lodge an appeal against refusal of 150 new homes.
In 2019, Hethersett-based United Business and Leisure submitted a bid for the homes – 40pc of which would be affordable – on land east of Wymondham Rugby Club.
Concerns were raised over the loss of the "strategic gap" between Wymondham and Hethersett, as well as other worries about the loss of hedgerow and "significant harm to the rural character of the landscape".
Last February, on behalf of the applicant, an agent warned South Norfolk District Council's planning committee that his client would "pursue this matter through judicial review" if they followed an officer's recommendation to refuse the plan.
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of refusing the scheme at a meeting on February 13, 2020. As a result, the developer has now submitted an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.
A statement submitted ahead of the appeal, which highlights the case for the appellant, said: "The site is located outside of the strategic gap, would not impact upon the setting of the Abbey and can be seen to not have an unacceptable impact on the openness and separation afforded by the gap.
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"The economic and social benefits of delivering 150 new homes (60 of which are affordable homes), additional local expenditure to shops services in Wymondham and construction jobs are considered to outweigh any environmental effects that the council has raised in relation to impact upon landscape and loss of hedgerow."
It added that allowing the plan to go ahead would help address a "massive under-supply" of affordable housing in the area.
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David Bills, Conservative councillor for Hethersett, said: "I stand completely behind the decision the committee came to. For me, it would impede on the strategic gap between Hethersett and Wymondham – something which I am very much determined to protect at just about any cost."
In response to the point about affordable homes, he added: "As far as I'm concerned we're one of the leaders in providing affordable housing."
Kevin Hurn, a South Norfolk district councillor and mayor of Wymondham, said: "I personally support the decision of South Norfolk Council to refuse permission for this application on the grounds that it would be an intrusion into the strategic gap between Wymondham and Hethersett, it is outside the development boundary and there are also environmental issues.
"With regard to the appeal I would urge local residents whether they are for or against the proposals to send their views to the planning inspector."
The appeal will he heard at a hearing in due course.