West Norfolk Council warned to do more on green spaces

Historian Alison Gifford with the plaque in The Walks marking the location where pirates were hanged centuries ago. She wrote the description on the plaque. www.lynnnews.co.uk/buyaphoto ENGANL00120120305152205
Historian Alison Gifford with the plaque in The Walks marking the location where pirates were hanged centuries ago. She wrote the description on the plaque. www.lynnnews.co.uk/buyaphoto ENGANL00120120305152205

Council chiefs have been urged to do more to ensure Lynn residents have access to adequate open space as part of future housing development plans for the borough.

The plea was made in an open letter by Lynn Civic Society chairman Alison Gifford, before consultations on West Norfolk Council’s proposals for housing site allocations end next week.

The authority says that around 6,500 new homes will be needed in the borough over the next decade.

Of those, around two thirds are proposed for Lynn and its immediate surrounding areas.

But Miss Gifford said the society had “great concerns” about the level of development proposed on existing open spaces around the town, highlighting Lynnsport, Marsh Lane, Parkway, Columbia Way and South Lynn as examples.

She argues that the council’s proposals failed to properly set out how green space lost through future development would be replaced, or how officials can ensure that developers provide suitable open areas.

And she said the council’s own open space assessment in 2006 had highlighted “significant deficiencies” in the allocation of green space compared to recommended standards.

She warned: “A significant increase in population, coupled with loss of existing open space, is clearly unacceptable for existing and future residents.

“Good quality green space is essential for a successful, happy community.”

A borough council spokesman said: “We welcome the Civic Society’s contribution to the debate and would urge them to formally register their representation so that their comments can be considered by the Planning Inspector.

“We would remind people that the consultation is open until 5pm on Monday, February 23, and we would encourage people to make their representations to the inspector, so that they can be taken into consideration when the local plan is examined at public inquiry later this year.”

The plan sets out the council’s preferred options for development in towns and villages across West Norfolk in the period up to 2026.

As well as the homes proposed around Lynn, almost 1,300 more homes are planned for the other main settlements, with 390 proposed for Downham, 333 in Hunstanton and 550 for fringe areas around Wisbech, including Walsoken.

The remaining 1,000 have been divided up among more than 50 villages across the borough, while a similar number of mostly smaller hamlets would see no development.

Miss Gifford wants the council to ensure that money from its proposed community infrastructure levy will go towards providing open spaces and appoint a specialist green infrastructure officer to develop such areas.

She said: “With so much development now proposed across the borough, there will never be a better time to have an appropriately qualified and experienced professional to lead this important aspect of sustainable planning.”

Comments can be submitted by emailing ldf@west-norfolk.gov.uk or writing to Development Services, Borough Council of Kings Lynn & West Norfolk, King’s Court, Chapel Street, King’s Lynn, PE30 1EX.