Norwich City Council refuses to reveal right of way fee as row over homes continues
PUBLISHED: 11:41 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:41 27 June 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Council leaders have refused to reveal how much private developers paid so a City Hall-owned sheltered housing complex's car park can be used as access for new homes.
People living in the 36-bungalow Norwich City Council-owned Ryrie Court are furious their landlords are permitting people who will live in four new homes nearby to access their houses via their car park.
The city council's planning committee granted permission for the homes earlier this month.
But the people who live in the sheltered housing said it could make the nine-space car park dangerously busy, especially as they have regular visits from carers, health professionals and ambulances.
At the planning committee meeting, councillors were told applicant, Battersea-based Gavin Phillips had already obtained a legal right of way to use the car park to get to the new homes.
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And, at this week's meeting of Norwich City Council, Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton, questioned how that decision had been made and how much the council had got for agreeing to it.
She said: "One would have thought that the city council, who owns the car park land, would have a duty of care to protect their tenants and prevent the development from taking place by not allowing access over its land.
"This was not the case and, at the committee meeting, the committee heard from the developer that NPS, on behalf of the council, had negotiated access to the development over a year ago."
Gail Harris, deputy leader of Labour-led City Hall and cabinet member for social housing, said the decision had been made by the head of neighbourhood housing under delegated powers.
She said: "Neither I, nor any other cabinet member has been involved in the decision and it is not linked to the planning applications or considerations, nor dependent on them.
"The fee received for the easement is commercially confidential and I am not at liberty to disclose what this figure is, but it was negotiated in accordance with a tried and tested formula for such developments."
The planning committee had agreed that, while the homes are being built, construction traffic should access the site via Eaton Chase, rather than through Ryrie Court's car park.