A town council was forced to turn away half of the residents who wanted to have their say on a major housing development.
Hunstanton Town Council could only allow 50 people to remain at Friday’s meeting due to fire regulations.
Residents turned up in force at the town hall to voice opposition to developer Hopkins Homes plans for 163 homes on land near Manorfields.
Most were able to stay long enough to hear a letter read out stating that a public consultation will take place at the community centre before the development is finalised.
But those who remained were annoyed that the council agreed in principle to the project after hearing a presentation at the extraordinary meeting on August 7.
The land had previously been excluded by the council from the list of preferred sites for housing.
The Mayor, Elaine Clutton, emphasised that the decision taken in August did not mean that opposition by local residents would not be taken into account when a formal planning application for the site is submitted. Once the application has been lodged councillors will then decide to officially support or object.
Although the scheme was not on the agenda, several letters objecting to the proposed development were read out.
The points ranged from an adverse impact on the natural environment and inadequate infrastructure, to a suggestion that Searles, as the current landowner, should consider accessing the site via their Leisure Resort, using an existing road which would simply require widening in order to take the resulting increase in the flow of traffic.
West Norfolk Council leader, Nick Daubney, attended the meeting. He said it was clear how strongly residents felt but there had so far been no planning application made for the homes.
He said: “This is part of the land allocation process which we have to do for the Local Development Framework. That is currently out for public consultation.”
Various landowners all over the borough council district had made submissions to have land included and many householders had said where they felt land should not be included.
Mr Daubney said: “All these things will be taken into consideration when the final document is presented to the Government.
“The message I would like to leave people with is that if we don’t have a plan, anything is up for grabs. It’s important to have a plan and important that it is acceptable to the Government because then people can have some surety where planning permission is likely to be given and where land will be protected.”
The owners and potential developers of the land at Hunstanton had offered to have a full meeting with all the residents who had strong feelings to express. “I think that’s the right thing to do,” said Mr Daubney.
It was also important for residents to make representations to the borough council about whether or not land should be included in the LDF.
“They should object to the borough council but I would also urge them to meet the developers and landowners face-to-face and ask their questions,” he said.