Consultation question over West Norfolk development levy plan

Planning
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Council officials have insisted a consultation on a proposed new housing levy for West Norfolk is open to all, despite concerns over a possible lack of representation in Lynn.

People living in the borough have until April 25 to have their say on a proposed charging schedule for the borough council’s proposed community infrastructure levy (CIL).

The authority adopted the plan, which splits the borough into three broad charging zones, in February.

But, during last Thursday’s full council meeting at Lynn’s town hall, Labour group leader John Collop questioned how Lynn residents would be consulted, given that parish and town councils in the rest of the borough will be able to comment.

He said: “When we talk about pcs there is a structure to divulge info to the people. I’m talking about King’s Lynn, a large area where there is no parish council representation. How is he going to consult King’s Lynn?”

Lynn’s ward councillors already form a consultative committee which looks at issues relating specifically to the town, including planning. But it only meets on a quarterly basis and the issue was not discussed at its last meeting in March.

However, development portfolio holder Richard Blunt said: “Anyone can respond to this. It’s not as if its a closed shop. If anyone wants to make a comment on this levy they can do so.”

Under the council’s plans, a £10 per square metre is proposed in Lynn, £40 in the south and west of the borough and £60 in eastern and north-eastern areas.

Some strategic sites in Lynn, Downham, West Winch and Walsoken will not have the levy imposed at all, while supermarkets and retail warehouses will be charged at £100 per square metre.

Cash generated from the charge would be used to help fund a range of infrastructure needs, ranging from roads to health provision.

But opponents have warned the higher levies outside Lynn may make developers more reluctant to build homes in areas where they would be welcomed.

Further information about the consultation can be found online at www.west-norfolk.gov.uk, under the Planning and Building Control tab.

Comments can be emailed to ldf@west-norfolk.gov.uk, using a special consultation form.