Pontins homes plans decision under review by barrister

Aerial pics of the Pontins site in Hemsby. Photo: Simon Carter

Aerial pics of the Pontins site in Hemsby. Photo: Simon Carter - Credit: Simon Carter

A decision by borough councillors to reject plans for hundreds of new homes on a derelict holiday camp site is being reviewed by a barrister.

A senior planning officer for the borough said the council is consulting a barrister about the planning committee's refusal to grant permission to convert the former Pontins site in Hemsby into a new 200-home estate.

There are concerns that if the developers lodged a planning appeal, it could prove costly for the council.

A spokesman for the borough council said, however, it was still speculative at this stage because no appeal has been lodged.

A decision notice has not yet been issued to the developer while the borough explores its options, which could include councillors voting again on the proposals.

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Last month the planning committee voted six to five to refuse the plans, despite a recommendation by the council's own planning officers to approve them.

Speaking after the meeting, Keith Kyriacou, chairman of Hemsby Parish Council, said he was pleased councillors rejected the current plan.

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'We are a village not a town. Three or four brownfield sites are going to be built on in the village over the next five years. Will the infrastructure be able to cope then?'

Turning a portion of the site into new tourist facilities was mooted as a possible compromise by the planning chairman to ease the concerns of some villagers.

Another issue could be the loss of the New Homes Bonus – money from the government which rewards councils when they accept more housebuilding in their area, with extra cash for building new affordable homes.

A borough council spokesman said the government had just finished a consultation which could see council's losing any bonus if the refusal was overturned by the planning inspectorate – however further details have yet to be released.

The plans put forward by landowners Northern Trust would have seen the 21-acre site turned into a residential area with two acres allocated for commercial use.

The site would have formed a mixture of detached, semi-detached and terraced homes, along with commercial units.

The Pontins site has been derelict since its closure in 2009, which caused the loss of 55 jobs in the village.

An agent for the landowners was contacted for a comment but they did not respond.

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