'Ridiculous' - Developer's anger as new homes at 'eyesore' site rejected

Aerial view of the former Palgrave Brown site, where an application had been made for 33 new homes to be built.

Aerial view of the former Palgrave Brown site, where an application had been made for 33 new homes to be built. - Credit: Google Maps

A housing development in a Norfolk town has been rejected - with the decision branded "ridiculous" by the man behind the bid. 

The proposal to build 33 new homes on the former Palgrave Brown timber company site at Westfield Road in Toftwood, Dereham, was turned down by Breckland Council on Friday. 

Mick Gore, the applicant, had in 2019 proposed building 24 dwellings, which town councillors at the time worried could be “dangerous” and “cramped”, before the plan expanded to 33 homes. 

Several reasons were given for the rejection, including the fact that no affordable housing had been proposed, that there was “insufficient private garden and public open space”, and the lack of an ecological survey.

Resident Keith Odgers, whose home backs onto the site, said: "I would have been quite happy to see a few houses go up, with correct access, because that would have been an end to so many of the problems we’ve had relating to the water, the flies, the smells, and everything else on that site.”

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Mr Odgers said that through the years the land had been "taken over and everything is just dumped there. It’s junk and metal. It just looks a state.”

The Osborne family, of Sheldrick Place, had previously referred to the unfinished site in a letter to the council as a 'horrible, smelly eyesore".

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Their letter read: “I am in favour of the development mainly because the site is a disgrace and increasingly becoming a health hazard.”

The council’s statement listing the reasons for rejection leaves open the possibility of 'a more acceptable proposal in the future' and says that 'the Local Planning Authority is willing to provide further pre-application advice in respect of any future application for a revised development'.

The applicant, Michael Gore.

The applicant, Michael Gore. - Credit: Submitted

Mr Gore said that it was "absolutely ridiculous" that the council had turned down a brownfield site while approving construction on greenfield sites further out of town.

He added that his architects, the Sketcher Partnership, were in talks with Breckland council as to how they could make the plan acceptable for resubmission, and that they would appeal the decision if necessary. 

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