‘We want to work with you’, church group tells North Runcton residents

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A church group at the centre of a row over access rights says it wants to work with local people, despite them rejecting a proposed deal with community leaders.

Last week, parish councillors in North Runcton ruled out signing an agreement with the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA), after residents overwhelmingly opposed it.

But the SDA says it is still reviewing its options for the site, despite the survey result.

A spokesman for the group said this week: “It’s a beautiful village, a lovely location.

“Our goal is to work with the village. We certainly don’t want to be the source of any bad feeling.”

However, he added: “Everything that happens will have a bearing on the plans that we make.”

Three-quarters of residents who took part in a parish council-organised survey said they did not want the authority to sign a deed of easement which would have given the SDA access rights over a section of School Lane, which the parish council owns.

At its monthly meeting last Tuesday, the council voted unanimously not to pursue a deal in the current circumstances and to consult villagers further if the situation changes.

The road gives access to an area of land to the east of The Green, which the SDA owns.

The group bought the site with planning permission for 32 log cabins, which was granted by West Norfolk Council two years ago.

Last year, they submitted an application to amend the conditions of that consent to allow for the provision of further camping facilities.

But the plan was later withdrawn following opposition from local residents, who said they feared the site could be used to accommodate up to 1,000 people.

And, despite the results of the survey, a parish poll is still due to take place in the village on the issue today.

The poll, which is run by West Norfolk Council, was requested by a group of villagers unhappy at the parish council’s handling of the matter.

They argued that the parish council had failed to deliver on its pledge to hold an independent poll, although the authority maintains thatit was trying to find a way for residents to be consulted without the need for a formal process.

And borough council officials said they could not legally stop the poll once it had been legitimately requested.