Homes bid withdrawn after GP surgery says land being 'encroached'

Land behind Long Stratton Surgery, on which eight homes could be built off Swan Lane.

An aerial image of the land on which the eight homes were proposed, with the surgery, and Swan Lane behind it, visible to its north east - Credit: Google

Plans to build eight new homes behind a GP surgery have been withdrawn, after concerns were raised about land ownership, bin collections and cramped homes.

An application had been lodged in October last year with South Norfolk Council to build the development on a patch of land behind Swan Lane Surgery in Long Stratton. The homes, which were targeted at over-55s, would have been accessed via the surgery’s car park.

But in a letter to the council, Primary Health Properties (PHP), which owns the surgery, said the site “encroaches significantly onto land in our ownership over which the applicant has NO rights”.

The letter added: “The medical centre is also looking to expand, as the current practice is too small for the needs of the current and future patients.

“Plans have been prepared and the practice are [sic] currently going through the approval process with the CCG [Clinical Commissioning Group].

“In due course we will be submitting a planning application and we need to ensure that this proposal does not restrict and prevent the practice’s opportunity to expand.”

A neighbour agreed, saying in a written representation: “With Long Stratton's new town status and the sign off for 1,800 more homes, the very idea of not being able to expand our doctors' site seems beyond reason…

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“Please for heaven's sake, see sense and deny this application.”

Writing to the developer’s agent, a council planning officer said: “It is no small distance for occupants to wheel their bins to the highway and I am very doubtful that refuse collection vehicles will want to access the site.

“Instead, they are likely to want to collect bins from Swan Lane.”

He said the surgery “will not permit bins to be left on its land or for bins to obstruct the existing visibility splays at the access.”

He added that the proposal came across as “cramped and overdeveloped” and that all but one of the dwellings failed to meet the National Space Standard.

He told the agent he was “minded to refuse this application” and that “there is merit in you withdrawing it” in order to consider the issues raised.

In a December email, the agent confirmed the developer would do so, and asked to discuss with the council “the follow up application… at a meeting before any re-submission”.

The agent was approached for comment. 

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