Developers appeal against refusal of 20 homes at Norwich church
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Residents are bracing themselves for a second battle with developers looking to convert the St Peters Methodist Church in Norwich's Golden Triangle into flats.
Plans from Wymondham-based The Interesting Building Company to turn the church into 20 homes, made up of a mix of flats, maisonettes and a three-bedroom house, were rejected by the city council planning committee in July last year.
It was after the developer argued providing 33pc of affordable homes at the site to make it policy compliant would render the scheme unviable.
They also refused to pay a commuted sum of £507,000 towards affordable homes elsewhere in the city, offering either three affordable homes on site or a commuted sum of £371,800.
Members of the planning committee voted unanimously to refuse the application on the grounds it did not meet policy requirements over affordable housing.
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Now the developer has submitted an appeal to the planning inspectorate in Bristol against the refusal.
There had been 172 objections to the scheme, with neighbours also expressing concern about overlooking, flooding and traffic.
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And now residents are banding together again to write to the planning inspector.
Lee Hooper, 48, said: 'As a community I think there have been a range of objections. There are lots of worries about parking for something that is 20 units and 42 bedrooms they have only 11 parking spaces. People are really worried about parking which is a big issue in the area.
'The disruption is going to be enormous.'
Ms Hooper added if the appeal succeeds, it could have implications for affordable housing nationwide.
'It seems developers just assume they can skip it,' she said. 'They are pleading poverty and we think that is just ridiculous. If our developers can go to the national planning system and get permission to skip our rules, every other developer will do it too, and it will completely bypass the whole system.
'It isn't desperate and it really worries me. We know how much we need affordable housing in this area.
'We have to push as hard as we can against this and stand our ground.'