Town council slams renewed major housing plans for Downham Market

Extraordinary meeting of Downham Market Town Council to discuss a major housing planning application.
Extraordinary meeting of Downham Market Town Council to discuss a major housing planning application.

Downham residents again criticised a major planning application at a public meeting held on Wednesday before councillors voted to recommend its refusal.

This is the second time Downham Town Council will have put forward its recommendation for refusal to West Norfolk Council’s planning committee for an application of up to 300 homes.

At the extraordinary meeting of the council, members of the public voiced their concerns about the plans for land off Nightingale Lane – the previous application for which had been refused by West Norfolk Council in April.

At the meeting, one member of the public said: “The town can’t cope as it is. They will use this as a precedent for a further application, if this one is allowed.”

Another resident said: “I have three grandchildren at different stages of education in Downham. All of those places, apart from nursery, are oversubscribed.”

A further speaker urged people to submit their comments about the application to West Norfolk Council.

“Every single one of us is a consultee. If you want to make a change it’s up to every single one of us,” he said.

Alan Pickering, of Downham Town Council, said: “The planning application doesn’t appear to be significantly different to the one before. We should move to reject it for the same reasons we tabled before.”

Yvonne Thompson, deputy mayor, said framework policy allocates 26 dwellings per hectare, but the application worked out to 46 dwellings per hectare.

The council voted to recommend refusal of the application, on the grounds that it contravenes plans adopted by the borough council; the dwelling density per hectare is greater than higher density inner city development; loss of allocated green space; and concerns of impact on town resources, among others.

West Norfolk Council’s planning committee will have the final say, though, and permission to build 170 homes will remain regardless of the outcome.