'Oppressive' village development approved

West Norfolk council. Picture: Ian Burt

West Norfolk council has approved 22 home plan for Watlington. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Plans for 22 west Norfolk village homes have been approved despite dozens of objections. 

On Monday, West Norfolk Council’s planning committee heard proposals for new homes on garden land on Downham Road, Watlington. 

The site is currently largely empty but lacks access, which will be achieved by demolishing number 32 Downham Road.

Jim Bhondi, the ward councillor who called in the application, described the development as a positive for the village. 

“We need more new housing here and this is one good solution to help with that,” he said in a letter to the committee. 

The parish council and 37 others raised objections to the plans. 

Objections from the parish council included over-intensive use of the site creating cramped development, a significant reduction in open space and an “oppressive form of development” that would impact on neighbours. 

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Other objections included concerns over the lack of affordable housing, Downham Road being unable to cope with the traffic, and the impact on the doctor's surgery and school. 

The developer, Charles McIntyre, told the committee his wife’s family have live in the area for more than three generations and are not speculative developers. 

Mr McIntyre insisted they had listened to the parish council objections and included fewer houses and more recreational space in the plans – cutting the number of homes from 25 to 22. 

Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group.

Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group. - Credit: Norfolk Independent Group

Terry Parish said he was “in two minds” about the development because it was not an allocated site but officer Stuart Ashworth said it did not have to be, describing it as a “windfall site”. 

Sandra Squire echoed the parish council’s concerns, saying: “Looking at the houses around it they’re all quite spaced out. To my mind this is overdevelopment, it’s cramped.  

“It’s very different to all the houses surrounding it, they have much more land.” 

The plans were approved subject to a section 106 agreement for four affordable housing units, open space provision and a fire hydrant.

Final design details on the site including building shapes and locations will be decided in a future planning application.