Homes bid approved despite objection in 'strongest possible terms'
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Plans for homes in a flood-hit area will go ahead, despite questions over how the application was approved and work being started without permission.
A bid for eight houses on land east of Mill Road in Shipdham were first submitted to Breckland District Council in 2011.
When the developers came back to the council in 2018 to get outline planning permission they were rubber-stamped by an officer without returning them to the planning committee.
On Monday, Breckland District Council's planning committee heard from Samantha Shelley, a member of Shipdham Parish Council, who argued the 2018 permission had been granted “in error and without consultation”.
Councillor Keith Gilbert asked for clarification on the claim.
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Mike Horn, the council’s legal advisor, said due to the time period between 2011 and 2018 that “ordinarily we would have brought it back” but said it was not unlawful and did not breach any time limits.
Monday's committee heard a reserved matters application for the plans, which focuses on details including access, appearance, layout and scale.
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Planning officer Rebecca Collins said work had started on the site before the developers had been given permission but this was not a consideration for the planning committee and was being dealt with by Natural England.
Ms Shelley said the parish council objected in the “strongest possible terms”, arguing the land was unsuitable for development and access was inappropriate.
“This is a natural wildlife area home to amphibians, birds and rare plants, all of which will be severely disrupted by the wanton destruction of the development.”
Ina Zweiniger-Bagielowska, a neighbour of the site, raised concerns about “excessive flooding” on the site, arguing a planned pumping station could lead to sewage entering her property if it ever broke down.
Shipdham ward councillor Paul Hewett objected to the plans, branding the application “the worst I have seen in 18 years as a councillor”.
Councillors raised multiple concerns about flooding and asked if they had enough information to make a decision, but were told they were not reserved matters issues.
Committee member Linda Monument said councillors would have to depend on planning officers to ensure flooding concerns were resolved.
Councillors voted four for and four against the application, with the tie broken by vice-chairman, Peter Wilkinson, who voted in favour.