Inspector overturns council decision and gives go-ahead for 175 homes in Norfolk village

Developers have won an appeal after Broadland District Council blocked permission for homes and busi

Developers have won an appeal after Broadland District Council blocked permission for homes and business units in Blofield. Credit: Aspect Landscape Planning - Credit: Aspect Landscape Planning

Developers have been told they can build 175 homes in a Norfolk village, after a planning inspector quashed a council's decision to block the plans.

In April last year Broadland District Council's planning committee turned down a proposal for the homes, plus business units, on land at Blofield.

The application for the scheme, known as Manor Park, had been lodged by AGH Smith, JE Smith, RG Smith and SLA Property Company Ltd.

But the developers behind the scheme enlisted the aid of Beacon Planning, appealed against that decision and yesterday a planning inspector announced he agreed that the council was wrong to turn down the plans.

Inspector Richard Clegg disagreed with Broadland District Council's reasons for refusal.

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He said: 'The addition of up to 175 additional dwellings would represent a significant increase in the size of Blofield', but added it was not inappropriate.

And he agreed with Beacon Planning that there was a shortfall of housing land over the next five years in the Broadland area.

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Despite the Joint Core Strategy – a blueprint for where houses should be built – referring to about 50 homes for Blofield, the inspector said the document also said key settlements within the area may be considered for extra housing.

He said the district council's policies could not be considered up-to-date, so the presumption in favour of sustainable development – a key cornerstone of the National Planning Policy Framework – took precedent.

Lee Melin, a director of Beacon Planning, said; 'We feel that this appeal win has tested the veracity of the framework and the government's desire not to duck the difficult decisions that need to be made if adequate housing is to be delivered.

'We are delighted with the outcome because, together with our client, we felt we had made a rigorous case to deliver much needed housing and employment in this area of Norfolk.'

Blofield Parish Council, which organised a public meeting about the proposals in October 2011, had objected to the development.

The district council had received a further 139 objections to the scheme from people in Blofield and about half a dozen more from people in nearby Brundall, Little Plumstead, Lingwood, Strumpshaw and Thorpe St Andrew.

There were five letters of support.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council, said: 'There were good reasons to refuse it at the time, but you have to respect that inspectors may disagree with certain decisions.

'We are disappointed at this decision but that is tempered to a degree by some very useful guidance which is contained within the judgment.'

Mr Proctor added that the council was trying to help secure a supply of land for housing by encouraging developers to come forward with sustainable schemes.

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