Council warned of gridlock over King’s Lynn housing plans

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A major housing development on the edge of Lynn would require a new dual carriageway that there is no money to build, a West Norfolk Council committee has been told.

The claim was made during a cabinet scrutiny meeting on Thursday which examined the authority’s plans to allocate lands for thousands of new homes in the borough over the next 12 years.

The council says that around 6.500 new homes will be needed in the borough between now and the year 2026.

Of those, the largest allocation, 1,600, is proposed around the villages of West Winch and North Runcton.

But, during, at times, heated exchanges, the meeting was told that the development would generate a 176 per cent increase in traffic accessing the Hardwick roundabout.

And vice-chairman, Paul Foster said: “The Highways Agency have said the development will increase traffic to such an extent that a new dual carriageway will be needed that they cannot fund.”

Almost two thirds of the total number of new homes envisaged in the plan are expected to be built in the Lynn area, including proposed sites in the town, as well as South Wootton and Knights Hill.

Alan Gomm, the council’s local development framework manager, said issues around infrastructure had already been examined in an earlier core strategy, which was deemed to be sound.

Asked whether there could be a “cast-iron guarantee” that some infrastructure would be in place before homes were built, he added: “It depends on the viability. It would be unreasonable to ask a developer to build a £15 million road before they’ve even built one house.”

But Mr Foster said there was no evidence to suggest that the overall impact of the proposed housing on infrastructure had been taken into account.

He added: “It’s a cumulative thing and I would have hoped cabinet would have looked at it borough-wide and not cause gridlock in King’s Lynn.”

However, council leader Nick Daubney said: “The thing that guides me through this process is if we do not get a satisfactory plan approved by the inspector the status quo remains where anything is up for development.

“That doesn’t stop those developments happening. The whole point of having an inspector-approved plan is so we can have the proper infrastructure.”

Councillors will vote on whether the plan should be submitted for a planning inspector’s examination and public comments when they meet this Thursday.