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'Spoiled forever' - Fears for valley beauty spot expressed at appeal over 83 homes plan

PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:36 22 March 2019

Illustrative masterplan for 83 homes north of Farmland Road, Costessey. Picture: Fellden and Mawson

Illustrative masterplan for 83 homes north of Farmland Road, Costessey. Picture: Fellden and Mawson

Archant

Fears of a picturesque river valley being lost forever have been heard by the planning inspector who will decide whether 83 homes can be built on it.

Members of Costessey-based Farmland Road Action Group, including Steve Codman (on the right) and county councillor Tim East (second from the right) after South Norfolk Council's development management committee voted to reject plans for 83 homes to be built on the River Tud Valley. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIEMembers of Costessey-based Farmland Road Action Group, including Steve Codman (on the right) and county councillor Tim East (second from the right) after South Norfolk Council's development management committee voted to reject plans for 83 homes to be built on the River Tud Valley. Picture: SOPHIE WYLLIE

South Norfolk Council’s decision to refuse the homes on the valley of the River Tud in Costessey is currently under the scrutiny of the planning inspectorate, following an appeal from applicant Katrina Kozersky.

The inspector, David Spencer, will ultimately decide whether to overrule the council’s decision to unanimously refuse the application for land off Farmland Road, along with a second bid to construct a recreational footpath around the valley.

However, campaigners including the village’s county councillor Tim East have warned that should the appeal be allowed, it could set a dangerous precedent and lead to the loss of the valley altogether.

Mr East, who represents the Costessey division, said: “The River Tud is a natural undeveloped river valley with beautiful landscape qualities.

View from the top of Farmland Road in Costessey across the Tud Valley.

Picture: James BassView from the top of Farmland Road in Costessey across the Tud Valley. Picture: James Bass

“Both these applications will undermine the natural nature of the Tud valley by commercialising it with public boardwalks. By generating more traffic and parking issues, the natural appearance of the valley will be spoiled forever for future generations to explore and appreciate.”

Meanwhile, Alison Thomas, one of the councillors who sat on the committee that rejected the initial bid, accused the applicants of using misleading photographs with its case.

She said: “I have visited the site myself and do not feel the photographs truly reflect the valley’s gradient – they make it appear far less steep than it actually is.

“I’m therefore concerned the projected images of what the valley may look like do not provide a fair representation.”

The field off Farmland Road at Costessey, where a planning application for 83 homes has been rejected. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe field off Farmland Road at Costessey, where a planning application for 83 homes has been rejected. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Eoghan Sheils, a landscape architect speaking on behalf the applicant, said the photographs had been taken in accordance with guidelines.

Paul Wootton, Howes Percival planning lawyer, also representing the applicant, said the case was similar to the recent appeal over 300 homes on Racecourse Plantation in Thorpe.

It was recently allowed by the planning inspectorate – despite being refused by Broadland Council.

The informal hearing into the appeal continues on Friday and will see the inspector carry out a site visit.

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