Controversial plans for 200 extra homes in a village near Norwich have been approved in a split vote.

Council officers recommended approval for the Hethersett development, despite strong opposition in the village.

Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey were given outline permission in 2013 to build 1,196 homes on the north side of Hethersett.

Hundreds of those homes have been built but the developers have asked South Norfolk Council for permission to construct an extra 200 homes on the phase four site, east of Harness Makers Way.

Eastern Daily Press: Land in Hethersett where 200 homes could be built.Land in Hethersett where 200 homes could be built. (Image: Archant)

The request to build extra homes is due to the original planning permission’s housing numbers limit being reached using less land than anticipated.

Phil Hardy, the district councillor for Hethersett, told Wednesday morning's planning committee meeting that residents were concerned about the impact on health services and the loss of a proposed community orchard that was part of a 2010 consultation.

"Hethersett surgery is literally on its knees," he said.

"[A doctor] a few months ago made a Facebook plea for residents not to contact them unless absolutely essential.

"They were struggling before Covid with five-week waiting lists and now they are in a very serious crisis situation and we all need to do what we can to help them."

Eastern Daily Press: Councillor Phil Hardy.Councillor Phil Hardy. (Image: Phil Hardy)

Thanking the developer, Mr Hardy said they and NHS England were now looking for a new site but said he could not support development until it was secured.

Mr Hardy proposed a condition on development that no more than 20 homes could be built before the surgery is provided but council officers said this would be defeated by a planning inspector as being inappropriate for the scale.

John Long, agent for the application, said the phase four site has been identified in the existing and emerging local development plans

He said: “We've identified right at the outset that we would have impacts on school places, health care and some small impacts on highways and open space, the proposal we have put forward includes mitigation for those."

Mr Long added just under £150,000 would be contributed, to be spent on Cringleford or other GP practices.

Councillor David Bills welcomed ecological improvements to the area but said he felt "what is being done here is wrong" and put too much pressure on the community.

Councillors voted three for and two against the plans.