Plans to build 189 homes on fringes of Caister and Ormesby referred to government

Proposed site of a new housing development at Pointers east, Caister.

Proposed site of a new housing development at Pointers east, Caister. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The battle against controversial plans to build 189 homes on the fringes of two villages is to rage on after the matter was put on hold and referred to government.

The decision came at a heated meeting at Great Yarmouth Borough Council's development control committee, which was discussing plans to build the homes on agricultural land straddling Ormesby and Caister.

More than 100 villagers from Caister attended the meeting, holding up signs with messages such as 'don't destroy our village' and 'remember who you represent.'

Due to the large attendance, some of the residents had to listen to the meeting over speakers in a separate room.

Laura Townes, who attended the meeting on behalf of developers Persimmon Homes, was jeered by those that were seated in the public gallery, while Caister residents also directed their anger in the direction of chairman Charles Reynolds throughout the meeting.

Planning councillors voted seven to five in favour of the application, before agreeing for the matter to be passed onto the government due to the extent of the opposition.

The final decision will now be in the hands of the Secretary of State for housing Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis.

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Rosemary Wilson, 60, lives on Reynolds Avenue which overlooks the site and attended the meeting.

She said: 'It was very disappointing, there were a lot of people making some very valid points about why the plans should not go through but it felt like the decision was already made.

'It is absolutely heartbreaking, I was crying in frustration during the meeting.

'I have lived here for 38 years and the village is going to have a completely different outlook now.

'For all this time we have been looking out of the window at the changing seasons, the crops, the wildlife and now we will be overlooking someone's garden. It will also have a negative effect on our property value.

'It is a bitter pill to swallow.'

The plan has been criticised by some due to its uncertain position within both the parish of Ormesby St Margaret which will benefit from the parish precept, and the school catchment area of Caister.

Caister parish councillor Lynne Connell, argued that there were other pockets of land nearby which would be more suitable for development including a site in Ormesby on Cromer Road.

Other concerns that she raised included the potential pressure that would be placed on schools and medical services when the houses are built.

After the meeting, she said: 'The plan now as a parish council is to make a representation to the Secretary of State.

'Caister is a village not to be used for urban sprawl, it is a community of people who never turn back and who are proud of their heritage. We will continue to fight and try and save our village.'

At the meeting, chairman Charles Reynolds said: 'Areas to the south of the borough have had considerable development and to be fair we have to take our own share as well.

'I am concerned about this mish mash of boundaries but I think we can't say 'absolutely not' to the plans.

'The fact of the matter is whether you like it or not, and I do not like it, there is really not a single issue in planning terms which would stand up in an appeal which would more than certainly follow.'

Mrs Townes, of Persimmon Homes, said that the developers had taken 'every step they could' to mitigate the adverse effect that the development could have on those that live close to the site.