Anger as plans for 600 homes near to medieval castle given the green light

Hundreds turned out to protest at proposals for hundreds of new homes at Knights Hill Picture: Chri

Hundreds turned out to protest at proposals for hundreds of new homes at Knights Hill Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Controversial plans to build 600 homes close to a medieval castle have been given the go ahead.

A sign protesting at the proposed Knights Hill development Picture: Chris Bishop

A sign protesting at the proposed Knights Hill development Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

A bid to develop land at Knights Hill, between the A149 and Grimston Road on the outskirts of King’s Lynn, has been approved following a four-day inquiry in January.

The proposals, which have been met with wide-spread opposition, had been turned down by West Norfolk Borough Council.

Knights Hill village, South Wootton, where the inquiry into the development of land west of here too

Knights Hill village, South Wootton, where the inquiry into the development of land west of here took place. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Objections to the plans, which also include new shops, roads and sports pitches, included the amount of extra traffic as well as the strain on local schools and GP surgeries. One of the grounds for refusal was that the development would harm the landscape around Grade I listed Castle Rising Castle.

But a public inquiry took place after applicants Whistle Wood and Reffley Wood lodged an appeal.

Former West Norfolk council leader and mayor Nick Daubney. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Former West Norfolk council leader and mayor Nick Daubney. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019


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And on Tuesday, the planning inspectorate overturned the council’s decision and gave the development the green light.

But the reversal has already been met with fierce criticism.

Knights Hill village, South Wootton, where the inquiry into the development of land west of here too

Knights Hill village, South Wootton, where the inquiry into the development of land west of here took place. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

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James Wild, Conservative MP for North West Norfolk, said: “This is a very disappointing decision based on an inspector’s report that overrides strong local opposition to this development. Despite acknowledging that the development is not required to meet local housing needs, the inspector recommended it be allowed to proceed.

“I spoke against this proposal at the inquiry on behalf of my constituents and I am saddened that their views have been disregarded.”

Nick Daubney, former West Norfolk council leader and mayor, blasted the plans as “ill advised “ and said he was “disappointed” by the decision.

He added: “I know the need for more homes in West Norfolk but the idea you can build in a small village and on such a large scale is unacceptable.

“I think the community fought powerfully against the development, which deserves all credit, and I’m sorry we did not win.”

Outlining the reasons for approval, the decision letter said: “the delivery of the appeal site would increase flexibility in delivering a five-year housing supply which is a matter of significant importance.”

It also said: “there would be harm to the setting of Rising Lodge as the proposal would result in the loss of some agricultural land” but that “such harm would be limited by the proposed intervening open space, and that the listed building would retain its isolated, rural and open setting.”

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