Walpole St Peter homes plan approved

Planning

Planning

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A contentious housing development at the heart of a village can be built safely, according to councillors.

Residents and community leaders in Walpole St Peter had called for the scheme proposed for a site on Church Road to be rejected, primarily on flood risk grounds.

But West Norfolk Council’s planning committee backed officers’ recommendations and approved the scheme on Monday, subject to the completion of legal agreements relating to affordable housing.

Opponents had raised objections on grounds including the loss of high grade farm land, poor transport links and the visual impact of the plans.

Those concerns were echoed by parish councillors, who added: “Poor drainage poses significant concerns regarding adequate and effective surface water management.”

They also cited the strength of feeling among residents as a reason for their opposition.

But planning officials said drainage concerns could be addressed by building the ground floors of the properties 30 centimetres above the level of the road.

Although they acknowledged the site is deemed to be at risk of tidal flooding, they pointed out that it had been deemed to be in a low risk area.

Members were also told that neither the Environment Agency nor the area’s internal drainage board had lodged an objection.

They added: “The LPA is therefore satisfied that the development can be made safe.”

The report also said the land had been allocated for residential development and no sites of lower value agricultural land were available in the area.

And officials indicated they believed other concerns could be resolved through the imposition of conditions.

Developers now have three months to draw up contracts for the provision of two affordable homes as part of the scheme. The application can still be refused if the deal is not completed.