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Formal complaint lodged against Breckland Council over village planning decision

PUBLISHED: 15:06 12 September 2018

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

Members of a village community have launched a formal complaint against Breckland Council, over a decision to approve plans for more than a dozen homes in their area.

At a meeting of the council’s planning committee in July, members approved an outline application for 21 homes to be built on School Road in the village of Foulden.

This decision has prompted a number of people from the village to formally complain to the council over perceived inaccuracies in the officer’s report to committee ahead of the meeting.

Alongside the formal complaint, a petition has also been set up in opposition to the decision, which currently has 28 signatures.

The complaint was lodged by Neil West, 55 and of Walnut Close, Foulden, and claims some of the information presented to committee members was inaccurate.

Mr West said one concern was that the application was considered ahead of the introduction of the government’s new national planning policy framework, which was published on July 24.

A Breckland Council spokesman said: “The outline planning proposal for School Road was recently approved on advice from planning officers.

“A key factor was that the council cannot demonstrate a five year supply of housing sites.

“Under the government’s national planning policy, this means the council has less power to refuse development proposals unless we can show the benefits of providing the housing would be ‘significantly and demonstrably’ outweighed by adverse impacts associated with the proposal.”

Mr West said that having received a response to his initial complaint he would be escalating it to the second phase of the council’s complaints process.

He added that his next step after this would be to take the complaint to the ombudsmen.

He said: “I feel there is an argument for the application to be returned to committee for consideration against the new framework, which is something I would like to see happen.”

Peggy Hand, 73, of School Road, has set up a petition looking to support Mr West in his complaint.

She said: “I feel there were some bad reasons for the recommendations, some of which were trivial at best.”

The complaint process continues.

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