High court ‘warning shot’ over Aylsham homes plan fails to shake Broadland District Council

Planning bosses have vowed to stand firm over their approval for a major housing and football complex in Aylsham, despite receiving a 'warning shot' from rival developers threatening a high court battle to get the permission thrown out.

A committee at Broadland District Council passed plans for 10 football pitches, a new clubhouse and 250 homes to be built on farmland off Cawston Road in October last year.

Since then however, Welbeck Strategic Land and Norfolk Homes have sent 'letters before claim' to the authority saying if the approval is progressed they will move to quash the planning permission in the high court.

The letters from Welbeck - which wants to build 300 homes on land north of Sir William's Lane to the east of the town - and Norfolk Homes - which owns land next to the Aylsham Lodge hotel - say the Cawston Road development 'has the potential to prejudice' other sites in Aylsham, that could be considered to meet its housing targets.

They also question the 'lawfulness' of delegating approval of the application to officers, claim the council failed to disclose comments, which was unfair to third parties, and list a further two grounds for a judicial review.

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But planning officers have rebuffed each of the grounds saying they are 'unfounded' and are now asking councillors to agree with their stance and push the plans forward when they are discussed at a meeting on Wednesday.

Phil Courtier, Broadland's head of development management and conservation, said: 'We think that the reasons they (Welbeck and Norfolk Homes) would take us to the high court are unfounded because we feel that we have addressed them or they're not relevant.

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'What we're saying to members is that we resolved to approve this in October, we note everything that's happened between October and now, but we still think that approval is the right course of action.'

Members of the planning committee are also being urged to approve the community contributions asked of developer Youngs Farms Ltd, which is behind the Cawston Road plans.

These include:

? Making an education contribution of more than �1.3m

? Handing the public open space that will be created alongside the homes to Aylsham Town Council, along with �363,500 for its maintenance

? Creating allotment land that will be ready for cultivation, along with fencing and a water connection

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