Former mayor criticises new Heacham housing bid

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A proposal to build up to 133 new homes in Heacham has been branded as “excessive” by community leaders.

Developers were granted outline permission for 69 properties on a site at Cheney Hill earlier this year.

But a new application, which has now been lodged with West Norfolk Council, is seeking permission for 64 more homes on top of those planned in the original scheme.

Documents submitted by the applicant, W H Kerkham (Rhoon) Ltd, said: “ This new application sensitively responds to the previously granted 69 homes.

“The proposed development is for 133 residential units, giving a density of 22 units per hectare, in line with Heacham generally.”

But former borough mayor Colin Manning, the village’s ward councillor, has called for the new scheme to be rejected.

In a comment published on the borough council’s website, he said he accepted the original scheme had been permitted, though there were still concerns relating to issues including traffic, but described the new plan as “unacceptable.”

He added: “This new application must be refused as it is excessive for the location.”

The new scheme comes barely a month after a government planning inspector dismissed an appeal to overturn the borough council’s decision to refuse planning permission for dozens of new homes, sheltered housing units and a care home on land off School Road.

A key issue in that case was the inspector’s acceptance of the council’s case that it now had an adequate five year supply of housing land in the borough.

Although the applicants in that case, Townsfolk and Broadland Housing, have indicated they may fight on, Mr Manning highlighted the decision as a further justification for rejecting the latest application.

But the developers say the issue was still open to “significant and valid scrutiny”, despite the School Road ruling.

They pointed out that the site has been earmarked for development in the authority’s framework for future home building.

The document added: “Moving forward, the council should look positively upon proposals for sustainable residential development which can contribute to housing land supply whilst complying with all necessary local policy requirements.

“The proposal will also deliver significant open space and will increase the catchment of local residents to use Heacham’s shops and services, aiding their long term viability.”