North Runcton council taking legal advice in new cabins land access row

Planning news
Planning news

A parish council is taking legal advice in a bid to stop a religious group building dozens of log cabins in a West Norfolk village without formal access rights.

Council leaders in North Runcton say they have had “positive” talks with their legal team over the dispute with the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church.

But a special meeting held this week heard calls for the entire authority to resign over its handling of the issue.

The move is the latest chapter of a long-running row over plans to build 32 log cabins on a site to the east of the Green, which is owned by the SDA.

Although the scheme does have planning permission, the land can only be accessed via School Lane, part of which is owned by the parish council.

Last year, the authority pledged not to complete an access rights deal, known an as easement, with the SDA, after the idea was overwhelmingly rejected by residents.

But an extraordinary general meeting was held at the village’s scout hut on Monday evening to consider what action could be taken “to address the matter of unpermitted access along the parish council owned section of School Lane.”

Parish council chairman Rick Morrish confirmed the authority had held talks with its solicitors and insurers prior to the meeting and said: “We feel that it’s positive news.”

However, no further detail was given, except that more information was being collated and was likely to take several weeks to compile.

Mr Morrish added: “All I can say is this is a legally sensitive matter and we will provide you with an update as and when we can.”

He added that a working party, which would also involve residents, had been set up to collate the information necessary to support the council’s case.

And he reiterated that the council had opposed the cabins development when it was given planning consent by West Norfolk Council.

But some villagers have criticised the council for not doing enough earlier to prepare for the possibility of the SDA beginning work on its land without access rights.

During the meeting, one resident shouted: “The lot of you should resign. You’re useless.”

Mr Morrish also apologised after two councillors claimed he had used inappropriate language in messages to them related to the issue.