235 new West Norfolk homes backed at two-day meeting

GV of The Winch Pub on the A10 at West Winch ANL-160504-151657009
GV of The Winch Pub on the A10 at West Winch ANL-160504-151657009

More than 200 new homes across West Norfolk have been given the go-ahead this week, as officials battle to cope with soaring numbers of development schemes.

And the fate of almost 200 more is set to be decided later today after councillors visit eight more sites in communities across the borough.

The borough council’s planning committee met over two days on Monday and Tuesday to examine a total of 38 separate applications.

Of those, 26 were approved, allowing for the construction of 235 new homes across the borough.

Eight others, which will allow for around 190 more properties if approved, are set to be examined at a re-convened meeting this afternoon, after site visits this morning.

Only three applications were refused, with a further one deferred for additional information to be provided.

One of the schemes approved during Tuesday’s meeting allows for 17 new homes on land at the rear of the Winch pub in West Winch.

Although the pub itself will be retained under the proposals, put forward by Basin Topco Ltd, concerns were raised about its future.

Andrew Morrison said he was “deeply suspicious” about parts of the application, while both Carol Bower and Jim Moriarty questioned the amount of car parking that would be left for the pub if the scheme was approved.

Mr Moriarty said: “I would be very disappointed if we ended up with an application in a year or so’s time that said the pub was going to close because there wasn’t enough car parking.”

But Geoffrey Wareham said: “I’ve known that place for 30 years and it’s been up and down forever.”

Officials also stressed there was scope for the pub car park to be expanded within the space left by the homes if demand required it.

However, committee chairman Vivienne Spikings said she was “baffled” by county roads officers not objecting to the scheme, despite opposing nearby developments on sites linked to the A10.

Tony White added: “We turned one down 150 yards away.”

But the committee was told that decision was based on the use of an existing access to the site, rather than a new one.

The marathon sessions come as the volume of applications being submitted to the authority continues to soar, following a High Court ruling last year that concluded the borough did not have an adequate supply of housing land.

Figures released last month showed a 14 per cent rise in applications lodged in 2015 compared to 2014.

Officers have also been given more time to complete legal agreements on planning schemes because of the volume of work.

n Turn to pages 12 and 25 for more planning reports.