Permission granted for homes on which work had already started

One of the homes on Hargham Road, Old Buckenham

One of the homes on land south of Hargham Road in Old Buckenham, as pictured in July of this year by Google Streetview. Permission had not yet been granted for any construction above slab [ground] level. - Credit: Google

Councillors have voted to grant final permission for four new homes in a Norfolk village - construction on which began months ago

At a Monday meeting of Breckland District Council’s planning committee, members looked at a proposal for four new homes on Hargham Road in Old Buckenham, near Attleborough. 

Permission was granted for the development in principle in June 2020, but the technical details of the plan had not yet been approved by the council when part of an historic hedgerow was removed and construction began earlier this year. 

Old Buckenham Hargham Road hedge March 2021

The central section of this hedgerow, pictured in March of this year, was removed at some point in the following weeks and months to allow construction to begin on the homes - despite the fact that technical details consent had not yet been granted. - Credit: Google

The works were noticed when a council officer drove past the site and saw that construction had begun on some of the homes above ground level - which permission in principle does not allow. 

One resident claimed in an August letter to the council that work had “reached the installation of roofing timbers on one of the houses”.

At the meeting, a council officer said the council has “been working with the applicants and the agents to find a resolution to developing the site out as shown on the plans, and including [a] replacement hedgerow".

An aerial view of the site in Old Buckenham

An aerial view of the site in Old Buckenham. The four homes will slot into the space at the centre of the image, immediately south and west of the existing homes. - Credit: Google - Credit: Google

She said the plan would bring a “net gain in ecology”, because the applicant, Devlin Developments, will plant 285m of new hedging to replace the 70m of hedging which would be removed.

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Nick Moys, an associate partner at Brown & Co, serving as agent to Devlin Developments, said: “Of that 70m to be removed, 20m at least is probably not really best described as hedging - it’s really just scrub, bracken and brambles.”

One of the homes on Hargham Road, Old Buckenham

One of the homes on land south of Hargham Road in Old Buckenham, as pictured in July of this year by Google Streetview. Permission had not yet been granted for any construction above slab [ground] level. - Credit: Google - Credit: Google

Tree planting is also proposed, Mr Moys said, and Devlin Developments has drawn up an agreement for a footway linking the development with the village.

Conservative councillor Phil Cowen said to the committee: “What you’ve heard today, I hope, is in many ways a vindication of the process and the principles that we follow in this council.” 

Breckland Councillor Philip Cowen. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Conservative Phil Cowen - Credit: Mark Bullimore/Mark Bullimore Ph

He added: “I think it’s quite right to reflect on permissions in principle and what they do and don’t do, but when a permission in principle is granted, there is therefore an expectation that certain works have to be carried out in order to ensure that a proposal which was found to be favourable could actually be implemented.”

Councillors then voted to approve the plans. 

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