Proposals for 19 new homes near Saham Mere refused by planning committee

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Plans for a new housing development close to a county wildlife site have been rejected by councillors.

The proposals to build 19 homes on a site off Pound Hill in Saham Toney - within a mile of the village's renowned mere – were refused by Breckland Council's planning committee at a meeting today.

The application had been recommended for refusal by council officers, who believed its benefits 'would not outweigh the harm caused'.

The site, adjacent to Parker's Piece Primary School, also lay outside the village's settlement boundary.

Chris Hobson of Capita, which delivers the council's planning services, said: 'It is not considered that the economic and social gains would outweigh the harm within the policies of the development plan.'

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Chris Parsons, representing the agent Parsons and Whittley Ltd, said the proposed 1 ha site formed part of a larger site which had been assessed as suitable for a development of up to 100 homes and that the proposed development would offer a 40pc provision of affordable housing.

'Sites such as these will protect the council from further shortfalls,' he added.

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Part of the reason for its refusal, acknowledged by planning committee chairman Nigel Wilkin, was the council's adoption of a five year land housing supply in December, meaning it now has more control over where new developments are permitted.

Mr Wilkin said: 'The door is shut, the train is gone and there are applications left on the side of the tracks.'

Paul Claussen said: 'The fact that we now have a five year land housing supply affects how it should be considered so I will be supporting the officers.'

Mike Brennan, operations and contract manager for planning services, said the council was able to make allowances for applications outside its adopted policies if there were considered to be exceptional circumstances.

'It is delivering affordable housing and other needed housing to the district, but the impact on the area and the landscape is so significant that it does not meet the exception test.'

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