Council leaders may use compulsory purchase powers in order to secure lands it says are needed for part of a controversial housing development in North Lynn and Gaywood.
The revelation is contained in a report on the Marsh Lane and Lynnsport project, which is due to go before West Norfolk Council’s ruling cabinet next week.
The report was published ahead of a public exhibition of the Marsh Lane element of the scheme, which is being held at the sports centre until 8pm this evening.
The council’s intentions to build hundreds of new homes on several sites in the area, plus a new link road from Edward Benefer Way to Lynnsport, have already met with fierce opposition from local residents.
However, the latest report relates to plans for a new pumping station which also forms part of the project.
The facility, which was granted planning permission last December, is designed to divert water away from the Gaywood river area at times of flood risk via the Bawsey Drain and North Lynn Drain.
But the report by Matthew Henry, the council’s property services manager, says two areas of land need to be secured for the station itself and to increase surface water capacity further downstream.
Neither area is owned by either the council or the Water Management Alliance and the paper also reveals that the ownership of one of the areas is unknown.
Mr Henry wrote: “This report seeks authority to acquire the sites identified within this report and to make use of compulsory purchase powers, if necessary.”
The pumping station itself is due to be built on a site to the east of Front Way, while the additional capacity is planned for around two thirds of an acre of land west to Edward Benefer Way.
Mr Henry said the council would continue to seek to buy the lands through agreements with the respective owners.
The report said negotiations had begun with the owner of the site off Edward Benefer Way, who is described as being “in principle, happy to deal with the council on this matter.”
But Mr Henry added: “The area of land for the Pumping Station is not registered with the Land Registry, and is in ‘unknown ownership.’
“The site is an unkempt area of land that has not been managed nor maintained for many years.
The report continues: “Noting that one of the sites has no known owner, and that negotiations with the owner of the other required site could fail at any time it will be unlikely that agreement will be reached with all the required interests within a reasonable timescale.
“It will therefore be necessary to seek compulsory purchase orders for the remaining land interests.”
He said that, although there would be human rights implications for the affected owners, it was felt to be in the public interest to proceed with the orders, if necessary.
The report will go before the cabinet’s meeting next Wednesday, June 10.