54-home plan delayed due to 'nightmare' traffic concerns

North Norfolk District Council is doing an IT upgrade, meaning its local search departmet is closed

North Norfolk District Council delays 54 home decision - Credit: Archant

Plans for 54 homes in a Norfolk town have been deferred after councillors raised fears they could make traffic an "absolute nightmare".

On Thursday morning, North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) development committee heard plans for 54 homes on Paston Park, on the field next to Victory Swim and Fitness Centre off Station Road, one of the largest remaining open spaces in North Walsham

If the application, submitted by the Paston Foundation, had been approved, Sport England's objection to the plans meant it would have been forced to go before the government for final sign-off.

Sport England had raised concerns about the loss of playing fields, which they said would go against national planning policy.

Nick Moys, who spoke on behalf of the application, acknowledged the plan does not meet local and national policies on open space but said: “However, we considered there are a number of material considerations that would justify an exception to policy. 

“The site is surplus to requirements of Paston College and since it was transferred to Norwich City College in 2017 it has been unused. We believe since 2005 the site has only been used very occasionally.” 

Mr Moys added the development would deliver a significant amount of open space, four times larger than other developments of this size.

Nigel Lloyd, the local member for North Walsham, said Mr Moys neglected to mention that the land had been bequeathed to the town almost 400 years ago. 

North Norfolk District Council member Nigel Lloyd

North Norfolk District Council member Nigel Lloyd - Credit: Archant

He said: “I’ve used that land recently in a triathlon, it does open periodically for that purpose, but the fact is that Paston has put a fence around it, basically blocking off access since 2017, of course it’s sat there.” 

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Mr Lloyd welcomed the affordable homes provision but said the town has had a great deal of development, with 1,800 more homes expected in the emerging local plan.

“There’s a question of how much development North Walsham can take, it’s becoming unsustainable,” he added. 

Paston Park, next to the fitness centre.

Paston Park, next to the fitness centre. - Credit: Google

Gerard Mancini-Boyle raised concerns that traffic would be an  “absolute nightmare” if development went ahead, which was echoed by fellow councillors.

Councillor Paul Heinrich suggested deferring the application until they had more information from Anglian Water over drainage on the site and for an independent highways study over traffic concerns. 

The deferral was passed nine for and four against. 

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