Sale of council farm as part of 4,000 homes plan sparks controversy

Mill Lane Farm in West Winch, Norfolk

Norfolk County Council has agreed to dispose of Mile Lane Farm at West Winch. - Credit: Google Maps

The potential sale of a council-owned farm as part of plans for 4,000 new homes in Norfolk has sparked controversy.

Norfolk County Council's Conservative-controlled cabinet has given the go-ahead to sell eight sites - as it looks to bring in cash.

But the proposed sale of just over 50 acres of farmland at West Winch, south of King's Lynn, has prompted anger.

That site - Mill Lane Farm - is currently part of the council's County Farms estate.

County Hall and West Norfolk Borough Council are promoting land, which includes the farm, around West Winch for some 4,000 new homes.

So, the land was declared surplus to requirements.

Norfolk county councillor Alexandra Kemp, who represents Clenchwarton and King's Lynn South. Picture

Alexandra Kemp, independent Norfolk county councillor for Clenchwarton and South Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt

But Alexandra Kemp, independent councillor for Clenchwarton and South Lynn, criticised its mooted sale.

She said: "The estate is earmarked as green infrastructure and not developable."

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She called for the council to work with the NHS to turn it into a Care Farm -  where farming is used as a healing treatment or therapy.

Greg Peck, Conservative candidate for Reepham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Greg Peck, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for commercial services and asset management. - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

But Greg Peck, cabinet member for commercial services and asset management, said the site was a "crucial" part of the West Winch development.

He warned withdrawing it would jeopardise the entire scheme, including the £65m West Winch Housing Access Road, which would link the Hardwick roundabout with the A10.

Mr Peck said: "These homes are necessary for the long-term growth of King's Lynn and I'm glad to say that Norfolk County Council has been working closely with colleagues from the borough council to support this site of regional importance."

But Ms Kemp said: "The West Winch development of 4,000 homes is not well supported by local residents and  no-one supports commencement before the bypass is fully built."

However, the cabinet agreed to the disposal of that site, along with others, including the former Sedgeford Primary School, near Hunstanton, which shut last year.

Councillors also agreed the possible sale of three acres of land at Shrublands in Gorleston to the NHS, which could see a new, permanent medical centre built.

Two former day centres - the former Lawns Day Care Centre in Caister Road, Great Yarmouth, and the former Laburnum Grove Day Care Centre in Elm Road, Thetford - will be offered for sale to neighbouring housing with care schemes.

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