Plans for 130 homes and GP surgery backed, despite 'predatory' claim

The application site near Rackheath

The application site near Rackheath. - Credit: Google Maps

Plans for 130 homes, a GP surgery and a care facility have moved a significant step nearer - despite a council leader branding it a "predatory" application.

Shaun Vincent, leader of Broadland District Council, urged members of his authority's planning committee to reject the application for land off Green Lane East, on the edge of Rackheath.

Shaun Vincent, Broadland District Council leader. Pic: Archant Library.

Shaun Vincent, Broadland District Council leader. Pic: Archant Library. - Credit: Submitted

Halsbury Homes lodged outline plans for the homes, a 92-bed independent care facility and a medical centre on the 18.5 acre site, currently a field.

Broadland officers said the scheme was against two council policies, including that it was outside the settlement limits of Rackheath.

But they recommended approval as benefits, such as the GP surgery, outweighed the harm.

At a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, council leader Mr Vincent called on his fellow councillors to turn it down.

He said: "This is a predatory application."

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He said it was not a site identified in the Greater Norwich Local Plan - a blueprint for where housing should be built in the next two decades - and that the officer support for the scheme due to the medical centre was "misplaced".

Field near Rackheath

The field near Rackheath where the homes would be built. - Credit: Google Street View

He said: "The medical centre is just in the wrong place, outside the existing villages of Rackheath and Thorpe End, and nowhere near Great and Little Plumstead."

He said the right place for a medical centre was in the heart of Rackheath, where more development is planned.

Andrew Cawdron, from Great and Little Plumstead Parish Council, also opposed the scheme, but Broadland district and Norfolk county councillor Fran Whymark, who lives in Rackheath, supported it.

He said: "If this was only a development of housing, I'd be objecting, but I believe with the medical centre and the extra care beds it's a development we should be supporting."

Fran Whymark, Broadland District Councillor. Photo: Archant

Broadland and Norfolk councillor Fran Whymark. - Credit: Archant

James Millard, from Halsbury Homes, told the committee it was a "comprehensive package of community benefits".

But Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Riley, who voted against it, said: "The medical centre is being used as a means to get around the settlement limit."

Steve Riley, who is the new Broadland District councillor for the Aylsham ward.

Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Riley. - Credit: Archant

The planning committee voted by seven to three, with one abstention, to delegate grant of approval to the council's head of planning, subject to conditions and legal agreements.

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