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Planners may reject housing scheme

PUBLISHED: 08:15 26 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010

RICHARD BATSON

A bid to build up to 100 homes on the outskirts of North Walsham looks set to be rejected by planners.

Councillors may reject an attempt to build up to 100 homes on the outskirts of North Walsham.

Officials say the town needs to preserve the land, desig-nated for business, to secure scope for industrial expansion.

A 50-name petition also opposes the scheme, near the old Crane Fruehauf factory.

But developer Norfolk Homes argues that the area needs homes more than it does industrial units.

The company wants to put homes on 2.6 hectares of land between the Cromer and Bradfield roads, fronted by the former Marricks wire ropes factory and heading back to the railway line. The site could take 80-100 homes, some 30-40 of them affordable.

Norfolk Homes says there is already too much industrial land for future needs at North Walsham, so the site is a wasted resource.

A report by planning officers says that, while the town council has no objection, people who signed the petition felt there were better sites for housing and feared potential traffic problems. Other objec-tors included the East of England Development Agency, which said redevelopment of the neighbouring former Fruehauf site could renew industrial development inter-est in the area.

Housing officers say there are 836 households on the waiting list for rehousing in the town. And the report to North Norfolk District Council east area development control committee, which meets on Thursday, says arguments for and against are finely bal-anced, especially with the chance of 40 affordable homes.

But officers admit to severe reservations about the scheme and are advising refusal, urging a "very cautious approach" to ensure the town's future industrial land provision is not undermined.

They say: "There remains a need to retain a suitable supply of land for employment use in the town, which has suffered a number of high-profile business closures in recent years and will undoubtedly feel the impact of the closure of RAF Coltishall." The former Three Cottages restaurant in Hall Lane looks likely to be given permission for conversion to housing. The business is moving to new premises in Bacton Road.


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