Joy as plans for 91 homes are rejected in Watton

Campaigners have hailed a victory for people power after a government inspector threw out a developer's plan for 91 homes in Watton.

Hopkins Homes wanted to develop a site at Saham Road, but the proposals were opposed by Watton Town Council and Breckland Council.

The developer appealed against the refusal and a government inspector held an inquiry in June. In a newly-published ruling, the appeal has been dismissed.

The inspector said the development could prejudice a blueprint for the area in the future and he also made criticisms of the design, layout and mix of the types of houses.

Hopkins Homes has six weeks to decide whether to appeal to the High Court and, while opponents of the scheme know that is an option, they are delighted by the inspector's decision.

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A sign has gone up at the site saying: 'Residents 3, Hopkins 0.'

Ron Upton, who was a member of an action group set up to oppose the scheme, said: 'People are very relieved and their lives would have been changed forever if the homes had been built. It is a victory for people power and shows the government's Localism Bill is working.'

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He thanked councillors, local businesses and residents who have written to MPs and government ministers for all their work.

Keith Gilbert, a town and district councillor, said: 'It is a great decision and there is great relief in Watton. It was the wrong application in the wrong place.'

Watton mayor and district councillor Michael Wassell said: 'It is fantastic news and it is a vindication of the decisions of Watton and Breckland councils.'

He said Watton already had the highest population density in the district and in the latest figures there are 2,371 people per square mile.

No-one from Hopkins Homes could be contacted to comment.

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