Fiery exchanges as 56-bed care home plan is refused
PUBLISHED: 16:20 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 19:12 02 October 2019
Plans for a new care facility geared at those with young onset dementia have been refused following a debate which saw fiery exchanges between an experienced councillor and officers.
Lester Broome had applied to Broadland Council to set up a 56-home care home on the site of Hill House on Hall Lane in Drayton.
The plans initially went before Broadland's planning committee in April, but a decision over it was deferred to allow further investigations to be done into how a footpath could be provided between the home and the main village.
Going into the meeting on Wednesday, Mr Broome and Norfolk County Council's highways department reached an agreement on this, which would see a 1.5m wide footpath run alongside Hall Lane.
However, following lengthy discussions, the committee instead narrowly voted to refuse the plans, amid concerns over road safety of Hall Lane, the size of the planned home and whether the development promoted sustainable transport.
However, after being asked to provide exact reasons for refusal, Conservative councillor Tony Adams accused assistant director of planning Helen Mellors of attempting to block the decision.
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Mr Adams had previously stated a list of policies he felt the development did not comply with. However, the officer requested the committee provide exact wording for the refusal.
Mr Adams said: "I feel you are being a bit awkward here and obstructive, there is no nicer way of putting it. I think you want to block it [the decision]"
However Ms Mellors responding saying she did not feel she was being obstructive and simply that the council needed specific reasons to defend the decision in the event of an appeal.
Following the heated exchange, the committee voted six to four in favour of refusing the plans, emphasising that the nearest bus stop being around a mile away was a major factor.
Speaking after the decision, Mr Broome said: "I will absolutely be appealing the decision.
"I feel the scheme has considerable merits and have done all I can to convince the committee of this, which was shown by how narrow the result was."
Before the next item could be taken, Mr Adams issued a full apology for his comments.