'Dormitory villages' fear as 112 homes approved
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Plans to build 112 homes on arable land near the coast have been approved - despite concerns that the plot was supposed to be used for "employment" purposes.
Councillors approved plans to build the homes at land north of Hemsby Road, Martham, at a Great Yarmouth Borough Council development control meeting on December 9.
This included eight two-bed flats, 35 two-bed houses, 43 three-bed houses and 24 four-bed houses - with the developer vowing to make room for "open spaces" throughout.
According to planning officer Gordon Sutherland, the proposal is sustainable, with utility services and the doctor's surgery confirming they could cope with extra demand.
He said: "This land was originally designated for industrial use, but the applicant has made the point that servicing the site for that purpose would cost £6m.
"Rent from the units would then come in at about £2.7m, meaning it isn't viable for employment."
He also said the developer wanted to "clear out" the middle of a copse of poplar trees at one end of the development, so that residents had better visibility and could spot antisocial behaviour or fly-tipping.
Councillors, however, were concerned about the loss of employment land and the felling of trees.
Tony Wright said he would like to see "more trees" planted in the borough, not fewer.
Paul Hammond and Leslie Mogford, meanwhile, condemned the fact that the land was not being used to provide "jobs for people within the parish", with parish councillor Paul Hooper arguing that Martham and Hemsby were becoming "dormitory villages for Yarmouth and Norwich".
The councillors were repeatedly reminded by officers to "consider what was in front of them" and stop suggesting alternative uses which were not part of the application.
Emma Griffiths, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the land had been marketed for industrial use for four years without interest, and that felled trees would be replaced at a rate of three to one.
Trevor Wainwright, Labour, said: "Yarmouth, which has ample employment opportunities, takes 10 minutes in a car.
"It's ridiculous to keep suggesting that the developer keeps a plot of industrial land free in the hope someone might want it in the future."
The recommendation to approve was carried with the condition that the copse would not be cleared.