Inspection date set for West Norfolk homes plan

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A public inquiry into plans to accommodate thousands of new homes in West Norfolk over the next decade will begin in July.

A government inspector has to decide whether West Norfolk Council’s proposed site allocations for around 6,500 new homes in the borough are sound or not.

Although full details of the hearings have yet to be revealed, it is known that planning inspector David Hoggar has been appointed to examine the plans.

The first examination hearing is scheduled to take place in Lynnsport’s Wembley Room on Tuesday July 7, from 10am.

And a notice of the hearings said: “It is anticipated that the hearing sessions will run for a total of 10 days, between July 7 and 29.”

The allocations are designed to determine where housing developments are likely to be permitted across West Norfolk in the period up to 2026 and how many homes are envisaged for each community.

Around two-thirds of the new properties, more than 4,000, are currently proposed for Lynn and immediate surrounding areas, including the Woottons, West Winch, North Runcton and West Lynn.

Almost 1,300 homes are planned for the other main settlements, with 550 in fringe areas around Wisbech, 390 in Downham and 333 in Hunstanton.

The remaining houses, around 1,000, will be divided between more than 50 villages across the borough, with many smaller hamlets seeing no development at all.

Council leaders have insisted that, if they are passed, the proposals will enable reasonable and sustainable development to take place in the borough over the coming years.

They have warned that, without the framework being in place, developers could build homes on any site, regardless of whether it was suitable or not.

But critics argue that the plan places too many homes in and around Lynn itself, meaning that local infrastructure would struggle to cope.

And, earlier this month, the newly re-elected North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham urged the council to re-think the allocations in order to reduce the pressure on the Lynn area.

He maintains that many villages would welcome a few more homes in order to better sustain local services.

And he also called for greater dialogue with the Fenland council on the numbers to be accommodated around Wisbech.

But the council has called for people to submit representations to the inspector ahead of the inquiry.

Members of the public will be able to attend the hearings. For more information, contact programme.officer@west-norfolk.gov.uk