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Proposal to build 26 homes in village rejected over contamination issues

PUBLISHED: 16:28 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 12 February 2019

Plans for 26 homes to be built in Weeting has been refused by Breckland Council's planning committee. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Plans for 26 homes to be built in Weeting has been refused by Breckland Council's planning committee. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2009

Plans for 26 homes to be built in a Norfolk village have been refused on the grounds of safety over contaminated land.

The site of the development in Weeting, pictured here in 2009. Picture: GoogleThe site of the development in Weeting, pictured here in 2009. Picture: Google

Planning permission was sought by Hall Contracts Ltd to build 26 homes in Weeting, near Brandon, with around 40pc to be affordable housing.

But the proposals to develop the site in Fengate Drive were submitted with recommendations for refusal to Breckland Council’s planning committee.

The council case officer Fiona Hunter wrote in a report to the committee that the plans should be refused in light of comments made by the Environment Agency (EA) over the chemicals found in the soil and the risk to human health.

Asbestos was among the potentially hazardous materials found by inspectors with higher than normal levels of material which can easily become gas or vapours known as volatile organic compounds.

The EA said further investigation was needed to demonstrate the risk of pollution to controlled waters.

On Monday, an environmental consultant speaking in favour of the plans for the applicants told the committee that very little was found in terms of contamination, with the exception of organic contamination found in the south east corner of the site.

He said: “We were expecting this from its previous use as a timber yard. In general, we found very little in this site that would be problematic.”

He said that while there were some levels of volatile organic compounds found there were further tests to “make sure everything is safe for development”.

“But there’s nothing to suggest anything we found couldn’t be simply dealt with,” he added.

However, the planning committee voted largely in favour of upholding the officer’s recommendation for refusal, with seven objecting and two abstaining.

Councillor Marion Chapmen-Allen said she was concerned with comments made by Anglian Water over the unacceptable risk of flooding. “I feel we are being very relaxed about this,” she said.

Councillors agreed that the development was “a good scheme” that was in a sustainable location within close proximity to shops and walking distance to Brandon. But they also agreed to refuse the application for further investigations to be carried out.

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