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Residents' delight as planning inspector dismisses appeal over 52 homes

PUBLISHED: 15:56 27 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:56 27 August 2019

A planning inquiry was held after Orbit Homes appealed against the refusal of new homes on two fields in Long Stratton. Picture: Simon Parkin

A planning inquiry was held after Orbit Homes appealed against the refusal of new homes on two fields in Long Stratton. Picture: Simon Parkin

Archant

People living near the proposed site of more than 50 new homes are celebrating after a planning inspector backed the decision to refuse the scheme.

South Norfolk Council's development management committee last September refused Orbit Homes planning permission for the development of two fields on the edge of Long Stratton, going against officers' advice that it should be given the go-ahead.

The developers subsequently appealed leaving residents who have been fighting the plans for the land off St Mary's Road since they were first put forward in 2016 waiting the outcome of the planning inquiry held earlier this summer.

Announcing her decision planning inspector Katie McDonald has now dismissed the appeal upholding the committee's decision to refuse the 52 new dwellings, which would have included 17 affordable homes and two public open spaces.

Plans for a development of 52 homes including 17 affordable houses in Long Stratton. Picture: Orbit HomesPlans for a development of 52 homes including 17 affordable houses in Long Stratton. Picture: Orbit Homes

Outlining her decision, she stated: "Whilst the level of affordable housing secured through the appeal would be two dwellings more than the policy requirement, there is a separate exception policy for providing affordable homes in the countryside which this proposal would not meet. Additionally, the benefit of the open space is tempered by the lack of connection to the wider countryside."

She added: "Thus, the proposal would not present overriding benefits in terms of economic, social and environmental dimensions."

Orbit Homes had argued there were "clear benefits" to approving the scheme, which it said would be a "real contribution" to alleviating a shortage of housing.

A gate on St Marys Road that would have become the access point to 52 new homes in Long Stratton. Picture: Simon ParkinA gate on St Marys Road that would have become the access point to 52 new homes in Long Stratton. Picture: Simon Parkin

In his closing submission to the planning inquiry, Mark Lowe, the barrister acting on behalf of the company, said: "It cannot cure it — that is beyond a site of this scale, but it can help make a real difference to 52 families, 22 of whom are in identified need of affordable housing which is unlikely to emerge from another source."

The plans had sparked more than 60 letters of objections while Long Stratton Parish Council had raised concerns that the single access along St Mary's Road was insufficient.

Sean Blake, who lives in St Mary's Road and who spoke at the planning inquiry, said: "The whole area is delighted by this outcome. This has been a very stressful time. We are nearly three years on from when we first received an invitation to look at plans for 100 homes, later reduced to 52.

Illustration of how some of the 52 homes would have looked in Long Stratton. Picture: Orbit HomesIllustration of how some of the 52 homes would have looked in Long Stratton. Picture: Orbit Homes

"It had been originally presented to residents as a site with two or more access routes but in the end it would have all have been coming through this very narrow road. A lot of people had been very concerned about its impact on the area."

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