‘Modern slum’: criticism as riverside housing plans agreed

The River Nar Ouse at Wormegay. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The River Nar Ouse at Wormegay. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Plans to expand a West Norfolk riverside housing development have been agreed, despite being branded “ugly”, “depressing” and “a modern slum”.

Councillors have agreed a site of 94 homes at Morston Drift in King’s Lynn, part of the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area (NORA) can be increased to 105 houses.

The application, put forward by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk (BCKLWN), was debated at the council’s own planning committee, with one member calling the project “disappointing” and “uninspiring”.

Speaking at the meeting, held on Wednesday, September 9, planning officer Helen Morris told members the development would be a mix of 52 two-bed and 53 three-bed homes, all two storeys.

But Sandra Squire, independent councillor for Terrington, said: “Had this design been built in right from day one, it would have been a lot easier.

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“And I have to also say that I find these applications incredibly disappointing, to the point of actually making me depressed.

“I was under the impression that the government wanted to put an end to ugly developments.

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“Well, I’m sorry but this is not a pretty design - we’re building brick boxes that are uninspiring.

“I’d even go so far as to say its a modern slum.

“As the council we should be doing better. We should have better designs. We should have more environmental measures and there are no excuses for that.

“We are the council - if we don’t who will?”

But Stuart Ashworth, assistant director of planning, said: “We haven’t got a policy that requires that at the moment.

“Maybe the local plan task group will look at that issue.”

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He added: “We are going over and above what is needed.

“Maybe it will become what is nationally standard.

“We are doing more than other developers are.”

And independent councillor Alexandra Kemp asked whether it would be possible for the houses to have fibre broadband to avoid issues with internet and landline connectivity.

But Ms Morris told her this was “not considered reasonable” to enforce as a condition of the development but said it was understood the council was in discussion with broadband providers on the subject.

Councillors voted in favour of the project going ahead.

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