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Widower's joy as wife's wish to protect valley is fulfilled by appeal decision

PUBLISHED: 15:57 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 17 April 2019

Geoff Hook, enjoying the view of the Tud Valley from his window, just as his late wife Stephanie would Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Geoff Hook, enjoying the view of the Tud Valley from his window, just as his late wife Stephanie would Picture : ANTONY KELLY

For any campaigner against proposed development, news of a dismissed appeal against its refusal is good news.

Geoff Hook and his late wife Stephanie, who asked him to protect the Tud Valley. Picture : Geoff HookGeoff Hook and his late wife Stephanie, who asked him to protect the Tud Valley. Picture : Geoff Hook

For Geoff Hook, though, this decision also means that for now he has helped fulfil one of his wife's final wishes.

Mr Hook has campaigned against plans for 83 homes on the valley of the River Tud in Costessey ever since his wife Stephanie died from cancer in November 2015, at the age of 68.

Mr Hook has an unobstructed view of the beauty spot from his home on Valley View Crescent, which the pair moved into together during the Christmas of 1978 - a view his wife cherished.

And one of the last things Mrs Hook asked of her husband was to do everything in his power to help preserve the view she held so dear.

Geoff Hook celebrates refusal of a planning application for the Tud Valley, along with fellow Costessey resident Michelle Newton Picture: DENISE BRADLEYGeoff Hook celebrates refusal of a planning application for the Tud Valley, along with fellow Costessey resident Michelle Newton Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Hook, who is in his mid-70s, joined the Farmland Road Action Group to campaign against the proposed development, which was submitted by Katrina Kozersky and refused by South Norfolk Council in December 2017.

The council's decision was appealed, but this week a planning inspector backed the council's decision and dismissed the appeal.

Mr Hook said: “I'm absolutely over the moon about the decision - I never expected it to go in our favour.

“I have fought to preserve the view all my life and the very last thing my wife ever asked of me was to try and stop anything being build there.”

Mr Hook had previously said that the saga around the planning application had prevented him from scattering Mrs Hook's ashes in their garden as she had wished.

The inspector's decision was also welcomed by members of Costessey Town Council, which joined members of the community in opposing the plans.

Hilary Elias, clerk to council, said: “This is an incredibly important result for Costessey as a community, for all Costessey's residents and for the rare river valley landscape.

“Dismissing the appeal has set a precedent, providing arguments to protect the River Tud valley against other possible future applications.”

Jamie Childs, of Howard Percival, Mrs Kozersky's agent, said it was too soon to comment on the decision.

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