Council welcomes alternative King’s Lynn housing ideas, but warns they will have little impact on current scheme

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Borough council officials yesterday welcomed the proposals put forward by the Lynnsport Area Residents’ Association (LARA), though they say a neighbourhood plan would have little effect on the current housing plans.

Dale Gagen, the authority’s corporate project officer, said the experiences of other communities which have developed their own neighbourhood plans have been very positive.

He said: “I am pleased that LARA want to take a positive and proactive approach to this and the council will of course assist where we can.”

But he added: “We must also be clear about what is feasible too.

“Full council has determined that they want to develop this area.

“The timescales for that development are such that developing a neighbourhood plan will be of limited effect on the current proposals.”

Last month members voted to press ahead with the council’s own development proposals for the Marsh Lane and Lynnsport areas.

It is thought the first planning application, for the Marsh Lane site, is likely to be lodged within the next few weeks.

However, the council also approved the administration’s plans to set up a community engagement forum for local residents to have their say on the development plans as they progress.

Mr Gagen said: “Invitations for the first meeting next week have been sent and include representatives from all three local residents groups.

“This meeting will provide an opportunity for the council to set out in detail the overall scheme, including all the benefits it will bring, and to listen to the views of the consultative group to see how the plans can be progressed.

“Many of the points raised by LARA are already present to some degree in the current proposals and the purpose of the consultative group is to look at how the residents can shape those proposals further, whilst keeping the scheme affordable and at a level that will meet the council’s housing requirements.”

Should LARA choose to go ahead with developing a neighbourhood plan, the borough council will work with them on the project, though they maintain that requires communities to accept and support the idea of development in their areas.

Council chiefs say that if more than one group wants to develop a plan for a particular area, they would encourage them to work together and only choose one body or another if that is necessary.