Norfolk County Council objects to King’s Lynn homes plan over flood risk fears

Exhibition of Marsh Lane housing plans in the Wembley Room, Lynnsport on Thursday. Resident Terry Stirling with Justin Coote (Development Manager Lovell Partnerships). ANL-150406-115313009
Exhibition of Marsh Lane housing plans in the Wembley Room, Lynnsport on Thursday. Resident Terry Stirling with Justin Coote (Development Manager Lovell Partnerships). ANL-150406-115313009

Current plans for one part of a major Lynn housing scheme are likely to have underestimated the risks of surface water flooding, according to Norfolk County Council.

The authority has objected to West Norfolk Council’s plans to build 130 homes on land off Marsh Lane, Gaywood, because of its fears over flood risks.

In a letter to borough officials, dated last Monday, county flood risk manager Elaine Simpson said there was a “lack of information” about how the current plans met planning guidelines on flood risk management.

She added: “We would highlight that the current modelling is likely to be underestimating the design storm runoff expected within Marsh Lane.”

The county council is the second public body to have voiced concerns about the scheme in just a few weeks, after the Environment Agency made a similar objection earlier in July.

However, following the agency’s objection, borough officials said they were confident that the concerns raised would be addressed.

And a spokesman said yesterday: “We will be working with our consultants and the various statutory bodies to address Norfolk County Council’s concerns.”

But Sue Bruce, secretary of the Lynnsport Area Residents’ Association (LARA), said: “The council should have known this and they should have known it before they put any applications in.

“You question whether the whole thing has been looked at properly.”

The group has also invited councillors and MP Henry Bellingham to attend a meeting this Thursday to discuss both the project and its intention to develop a neighbourhood plan for the area.

Meanwhile, borough leaders have insisted that land which was removed from the proposed development earlier this year will not be reinstated despite recent setbacks to the council’s long-term housing proposals.

The pledge came during Thursday’s full council meeting after Gaywood North Bank representative Thomas Smith asked for assurances that the scheme would not be altered and plans for the Lynnsport 2 site, which includes the River Lane sports pitches, would not be revived.

In the last few weeks, the council has lost a High Court case in which a judge backed an inspector’s view that the borough did not have an adequate supply of available housing land.

And an inquiry into the authority’s proposals for housing developments in the period up to 2026 was halted on its first day.

But development portfolio holder Vivienne Spikings said the council had submitted “robust” mitigation to address the inspector’s concerns and had asked for the inquiry to resume next month.

She also insisted the borough was not alone in having to deal with such problems.

She said: “South Cambridgeshire have had a similar situation. It happens up and down the country.

“The government have told inspectors they have to take a more pragmatic view and come up with some more positive results.”