Councillors reject retirement home plans set for appeal
- Credit: Archant
Councillors have supported officer's calls to reject a market town retirement home plan - despite the council having no authority to make a decision.
A planning application to develop 58 retirement apartments and 15 cottages in Diss was heard by South Norfolk Council's (SNC) development committee on Wednesday.
An application for the site south of the Thatchers Needle pub was first submitted in February by Churchill Retirement Living.
SNC did not make a decision about the plans, forcing the developers to appeal to the planning inspector.
Committee chairman Vic Thomson said they were now only able to advise on the application.
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Mr Thomson explained the issue had arisen because they needed information from the developer to pass on to key consultees.
"We don't work in isolation in determining a planning application. We have consultees," he said.
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"We have no sanction over those people, we were waiting for those consultees to come back to us.
"We have been put in a situation now where we have been held up for non-determination - I'm quite disappointed at the situation."
His fellow councillors agreed, with David Bills saying it was disappointing a Churchill representative had not turned up to the meeting.
Officer Sarah Everard raised several concerns, including whether the plans overdeveloped the site and the lack of drainage information.
Eric Taylor, mayor of the town council, told the committee Diss is one of the most deprived towns in Norfolk, stressing the need for more affordable homes.
He added: "The population of Diss has grown by 25pc in the last 10 years, driven in part by housing for the elderly.
"This has put an enormous strain on our health services and lead to waiting times of weeks."
Mr Taylor also doubted the developer's figures that the four in 10 homes would be sold to local people suggesting they would be too expensive.
Councillor Graham Minshull said the site - between one of the busiest pubs in Diss and power substation - did not seem appropriate and without affordable housing it had nothing for residents.
The committee unanimously agreed to support the officers in rejecting the plans, which will go before the planning inspector on November 9.