Housing developer launches fresh appeal against refusal of 200 homes in Norfolk village

Villagers have been protesting against plans to build 200 homes in Sculthorpe. Picture: Ian Burt

Villagers have been protesting against plans to build 200 homes in Sculthorpe. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A housing developer is refusing to give up its bid to double the size of a village near Fakenham with 200 new homes.

Residents of Sculthorpe have campaigned for years against the proposals from Indigo Planning.

They thought they had secured a final victory when a planning inspector stood by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and rejected the plans.

But now, it has emerged, Indigo, working on behalf of Amstel Group Corporation, has appealed against the inspector's decision.

The inspector, who was appointed by the Secretary of State, dismissed the original appeal on July 6 for a range of reasons, including that the plans conflict with policies intended to protect the countryside and historic environment.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of the NNDC, said: 'This appeal isn't against our decision, which was upheld. This is against the decision made by planning inspector.

'In my view the decision by the inspector at the time was a good and robust one but we'll have to wait and see what happens. Every decision has got a right of appeal and this is a big decision so we did expect it.'

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The council is now seeking legal advice.

With the appeal lodged it is now in the hands of the Secretary of State as to whether to defend the inspector's decision. If they choose not to then a full appeal process will be launched.

Tony Walters, chairman of Sculthorpe Parish Council, said: 'The village is desperately disappointed. This is not the right place for 200 houses and I don't know how much this process will take the community into consideration. If the Secretary of State feels there is a case here, we could be back to square one.'

Jill Payne, a spokesperson for campaign group Save Sculthorpe, said: 'The whole village is disappointed but not surprised by the challenge. We will all be devastated if the decision is overruled. The whole of Sculthorpe mounted and sustained a campaign the likes of which is rarely seen and the community should not be ignored.'

Indigo were not available to comment at the time of publication, however they previously said the council's planning policies are 'out of date' and they can provide evidence of the 'pressing need for housing' in the Fakenham area.

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