MP demands ‘prompt and tough’ action to bring eight-year Thorpe Island wrangle to an end
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith is demanding 'prompt and tough' action to end the eight-year wrangle over Thorpe Island.
The legal battle over rights on the River Yare site could now reach the Court of Appeal as landowner Roger Wood submitted papers to quash the latest ruling about development there.
The Broads Authority argues the moored boats, jetties, pontoons and a container in a basin on the western end of the island need planning permission and cannot, as Mr Wood says, rely on the historic consent given to a previous owner for a marina.
The case, which dates back to when the Thorpe St Andrew site was bought in 2007, has been before two planning inspectors already, with a High Court judge deeming the development unlawful.
Now Ms Smith has intervened and called for the 'misery' of those living nearby to end.
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She said: 'It is simply not acceptable for unauthorised, unsightly, noisy activity to cause misery night and day to people nearby.
'We have the rule of law in this country for a reason and I believe that activity on the island is just flouting it.'
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At a heated Broads authority planning committee last month, members voted for a court injunction for areas both within the enforcement notice remit and outside it.
That is pending the decision over Mr Wood's bid to appeal against the High Court ruling.
He said the battle, thought to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds for all parties involved, has turned into a campaign against him.
He said: 'It's a witch hunt. Lots of people have said that to me. A certain amount of it is they don't understand anybody with a slightly different way of life. There are so many narrow-minded people in this world.'
According to Mr Wood, there are currently 42 people living on the site, who have built up a community there.
Yet Ms Smith is backing the Broads Authority planners and neighbours who have previously spoken out about their nightmare of living opposite the island.
She said: 'I am continuing to work closely with the Broads Authority and constituents in Thorpe St Andrew on the serious problem of planning law enforcement on Thorpe Island.
'The recent High Court judgment was very clear and this is now a matter of enforcing the law.
'What I want to see for my constituents is prompt and tough action by the Broads Authority.
'I will continue to support them to do that, as quickly as possible.'
Do you have a news story about the Broads? Contact Rosa McMahon on 01603 772453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org