Eco-home rejected despite 'YIMBY' support
- Credit: Brittany Woodman
Proposals to build an eco-home on the edge of a picturesque Norfolk village have split opinion, with dozens of locals in support but the parish council in opposition.
Richard Mantin wants to build the single-storey home in Shotesham, which is five miles south of Norwich.
The plans, which would replace a disused stable with a low carbon eco-home, have seen overwhelming support from locals, with almost a third of households writing to South Norfolk Council (SNC) in favour of the project.
In total, 71 letters were written in support, from a village that had 227 homes at the time of the last census in 2011, after Mr Mantin canvassed opinion among locals. This indicates an unusual level of 'YIMBY' - 'yes, in my back yard' - backing for such a planning application.
However, three neighbours, as well as the parish council have objected.
At last Wednesday's SNC development committee meeting, planning officer Glen Beaumont recommended refusing the plans due to the need for a resident of the property to rely on a car, the location being close to a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and the proposed property being outside the development boundary.
He said the development was around 100 metres outside the boundary and that its location opposite the village common - the SSSI - made it unacceptable.
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Heather Jackson, chairman of the parish council, said the proposed house would have a "significant impact" on views from the special conservation area.
But this was rejected by David Marris, who spoke on behalf of Mr Mantin.
He said the plans had been supported by the council's heritage and design officer and would be an enhancement of the site.
Mr Marris added the site had been designed to screen off domestic activity from the road and court judgements had approved applications in rural areas that needed car use.
Florence Ellis, the local member for Shotesham, supported the application, she said: "It’s a known fact if you live in a village you have to use a car. Very few people can walk everywhere.
“The sooner we educate people who came up with the national policy that that should never be a condition - if you live in a rural area that’s the way of life.”
Ms Ellis also questioned why the development boundary ends where it does.
The committee was split on the decision with four voting in favour and four against, giving the chairman, Vic Thomson casting the deciding vote against the application.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Mantin said he and his partner Patricia Von Sachensburg were "dismayed" at the decision.
"We were delighted that we got 71 neighbours who absolutely loved it, they thought 'here's a nice, unobstructive house which is a massive improvement on what's already there.
"Normally you get a lot of people objecting to plans but this had loads of local support."
Mr Mantin said he would appeal the decision.