Councillors are ‘out of touch’ over controversial King’s Lynn homes plan, says campaigner

G/V of Pelicans hockey pitches ANL-150203-091629009

G/V of Pelicans hockey pitches ANL-150203-091629009

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Councillors who supported controversial plans for hundreds of new homes in North Lynn and Gaywood are “out of touch” with the views of local people, campaigners say.

Objectors to the proposed development of lands around Lynnsport and Marsh Lane heckled and slow handclapped after borough councillors backed the scheme at a meeting in Lynn on Thursday.

Council leaders insisted they have tried to address the concerns of local people as far as possible in developing the project, though opposition parties argued that further consultation was needed.

And opponents have vowed to continue their fight against the scheme

Resident Sue Bruce said yesterday: “The people who will suffer will be the local people, the kids and the old people who walk their dogs.”

Of the councillors who supported the plan, she added: “I just feel they’re not in touch.”

Members voted 29 to 13 to allow the authority to develop planning applications for the respective sites.

But Labour and UKIP councillors both called for a further round of public consultation to take place following recent changes to the scheme.

Labour deputy leader Andy Tyler said: “I’m not satisfied there is full clarity for the questions and concerns that the public have in my ward and neighbouring wards.”

UKIP leader Paul Foster pointed to an admission from cabinet member David Pope that green space was “at a premium” to justify giving residents another say.

He said: “This information was not forthcoming during the consultation.”

But Alistair Beales, cabinet member for regeneration, insisted full details would only come during the planning process and accused UKIP of “posturing” on the issue.

He said: “I take the concerns of the public very seriously and I try to mitigate them as far as I can.”

A proposal calling for further public consultation was defeated, though an amendment seeking to protect the Lynnsport 2 site from future development plans was passed.

Earlier, in response to a question from resident Joy Franklin, Mr Beales admitted it was unlikely the scheme would proceed in its current form without the construction of a new link road from Edward Benefer Way to Lynnsport.

He said: “In many ways the easiest way to carry out development was to hammer in a for sale sign and say get on with it. I didn’t feel that was an appropriate way to go forward.”

But Labour backbencher Ian Gourlay said he had been “seduced” by the provision of long-term rental homes, which now appeared to have been removed.

He claimed other sites were available and said: “There is no real need to rush ahead with this apart from one – money. What is it going to be used for?”

The meeting earlier heard around £38,000 has already been spent on preparing the Marsh Lane site.

And Mr Beales insisted the investment was necessary to protect the public purse, describing it as “folly” to go ahead with planning applications without full initial assessment.