‘Exceptional’ need justifies plans for 186-space car park in Burnham Market, report claims

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Controversial plans for dozens of new homes and a near-200 space car park should go ahead in the interests of villagers and businesses, a report has claimed.

Planning officers have admitted a scheme the size of the one proposed for the Foundry Field site in Burnham Market would not normally be approved in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

But they have recommended the scheme is approved when it goes before the West Norfolk Council planning committee next Monday, as long as legal agreements are completed within three months.

The report continues: “This is an exceptional circumstance where the council considers that the benefit to existing residents and local businesses justifies the increase in the level of development.”

Essex-based developers Fleur Hill are seeking permission for 32 new homes, a 186-space public car park, new public toilets and open space on the site.

The firm argues that the car park is urgently needed to relieve long-standing parking and traffic problems in the village, as well as maintaining vital public transport links.

Their position is supported by the local parish council, who warned: “Without the provision of the proposed facility there is an increased danger that Burnham Market will fail to look after the needs of local residents and the many visitors, and will simply drift into the unsustainable position evident in many other surrounding Norfolk villages.”

More than 100 comments have been posted on the application on the borough council’s website, with objectors from as far afield as Newcastle criticising the scheme.

While a small majority of the comments were supportive, one opponent bemoaned what they described as the “ever creeping urbanisation of a beautiful village.”

Another claimed the plan was “flawed and opportunistic”, adding: “The developer is doing nothing more than holding the village to ransom by linking it to the development of 32 houses and retail units.”