Plan for social housing in erosion area backed for approval

Mundesley beach in the early summer sun with Bacton, Walcott and Happisburgh lighthouse in the backg

Looking down the beach from Mundesley towards Walcott and Happisburgh. Picture: Mark Bullimore - Credit: Mark Bullimore

Plans to build 16 affordable homes and two to be sold at market value in a coastal village have been recommended for approval, despite a raft of objections. 

Officers at North Norfolk District Council have backed the plan to erect the houses on a 0.92-hectare plot of farming land in Walcott, even though a corner of the site will probably have fallen into the sea in 100 years' time. 

Luke Warren, who runs London-based Warren Property Group, has submitted the plans for 16 social housing units on land off Ostend Road, with the two market value homes included to make the scheme viable. 

The council got 18 representations and letters of objection to the plans which raised scores of separate concerns.

A plan of the site in Walcott proposed for new homes. The pink area is an 'indicative coastal erosio

A plan of the site in Walcott proposed for new homes. The pink area is an 'indicative coastal erosion zone for 2105, and the yellow area is the indicative coastal erosion zone for 2055. Picture: Supplied by Luke Warren - Credit: Archant

Objections included: "Having a new road behind existing properties would give access for criminals, making people feel more vulnerable", the area has an "abundance of snakes, wildflowers, hedgehogs and pipistrelle bats", and "the field suffers from flooding and is therefore unsuitable for housing development".

Walcott Parish Council supported the plans, and said: "Given the narrow nature of Ostend Road the development should embrace the provision of a footway to ensure pedestrian safety towards the village centre."

The area is undergoing erosion and a corner of the site lies within the '2105 Coastal Erosion Epoch' meaning it is expected to be in the North Sea within the next century. 

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But the council officers' report says: "Only a small area of land is located within the 100 year epoch, but this land is to be used for garden land or amenity area only.

"As this application does not involve a dwelling, or the access to a dwelling within the Coastal Erosion Constraint Zone, residential development in this location has been identified as acceptable."

The report also highlighted Walcott's need for affordable homes, and said there were 62 households with strong local connections on a waiting list for somewhere to live there.

Members of the council's development committee are due to discuss the plans at a meeting on April 8.

The recommendation for approval was made on the conditions that the 16 homes be socially rented, amenity green space was provided on site and the developer made £3,690.36 in 'visitor impact mitigation contributions'.