Downham Market Town Council opposes major homes plan after outcry at public meeting

Around 100 members of the public joined Downham Market Town Council for an extraordinary meeting regarding a major planning application in the town.
Around 100 members of the public joined Downham Market Town Council for an extraordinary meeting regarding a major planning application in the town.

Residents in Downham criticised a major planning application at a public meeting on Tuesday before councillors voted to recommend its refusal.

More than 100 people packed out the town hall for an extraordinary meeting of Downham Town Council to discuss the plans to build up to 300 homes on land at Nightingale Lane.

Planning permission had previously been granted for 170 new homes on the land off of the A1122 two years ago, and now developers have said an increase of another 130 units is ‘achievable’.

But about 20 members of the public voiced their concerns about this increase.

Many opposed the application as they said the town’s infrastructure is not sufficient for the current population, let alone with hundreds of new residents.

One person said: “The doctors, schools and dentists can’t cope. Even 170 new homes is too many.”

“How are they going to travel without clogging up the roads,” another asked.

One resident spoke against creating vehicular access to the site via Ryston End and said: “Allowing vehicular access here would create a rat run – a very dangerous hazard to pedestrians and drivers.”

The possibility of more houses being built in the town should these be granted was also raised as a concern.

Following public discussion, Downham Town Council voted unanimously to recommend refusal to West Norfolk Council.

The council’s planning committee will have the final say, though, and permission to build 170 homes will remain regardless of the outcome.