People power defeats paintball plans for Ringland, near Norwich

People power was hailed the winner after controversial plans for a new paintballing centre near Norwich were refused today.

George Black, who owns Ringland Estate, wanted to create a paintballing site on 35 hectares of woodland, off Ringland Lane in Morton on the Hill.

The application for a change of use at the site was recommended for approval by Broadland district councillors, despite a petition with 202 signatures opposed to it and 43 other objection letters. But councillors today voted 7-6 to refuse the application on the grounds of highway safety.

The scheme would have involved mini-buses using the narrow lanes of the village, and the meeting was told there were already 15 paintball sites in Norfolk with one just five miles away in Felthorpe.

Afterwards, resident Nick Adams said: 'We are delighted with the decision, which is obviously the right one. It shows that the views of the villagers were taken into account, and that the planning process is clearly working.'

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Julie Joseph, agent for Mr Black, told the meeting that it would have created nine full-time and part-time jobs, but councillors decided that highways concerns outweighed the economic benefits that Simon Woodbridge, district councillor for Great Witchingham, said it could bring.

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