Whatever the outcome of the uproar over West Norfolk Council’s proposals for the Lynnsport/Marsh Lane area, it does seem that planning laws, both locally and nationwide, are approaching a tipping point.
Regardless of the number of houses that will eventually be built, this will surely be the last major housing development within the boundaries of Lynn, simply because there is literally nowhere else to go.
Already there are rumblings nationally for changes to planning laws so that the green belts around our major cities can be opened up, and there must surely soon be new rules for rural areas, such as West Norfolk.
Our planning laws have been in place, more or less in the same form, for generations, but they now look seriously out of date, faced with the dire need for homes.
The shake-up is likely to come in the next few years, and we can only hope that it is thought out in sufficient detail to protect the countryside, rather than a free-for-all urged on by the developers who have most to gain.
Returning to Lynnsport, I should think the borough council have been taken aback by the level of opposition. Certainly, the widespread discontent seems at odds with the council’s assertion that many who had attended the consultation events were generally happy.
The letters page of the Lynn News is usually a reasonable guide to local concerns and opinions, and it was interesting to note that every single one of the letters published in a two-page spread in last Friday’s paper were all opposed – some vehemently.
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has also waded into the row, expressing concern over the fears raised by local. Poor old Henry! He must be wondering what he has done to deserve the problems raised by Conservative-led administrations in Norfolk in recent times – and all this with a General Election looming. First there was the fiasco of the incinerator that a Tory-led Norfolk County Council tried to foist on West Norfolk, and now it is a housing row that threatens to get worse – especially if the borough council try to proceed with only minimal alterations. And that is not the only potential planning row on the horizon.
The proposals for two housing developments at South Wootton, one to the west of Hall Lane and the other between Sandy Lane and Knights Hill, have already raised worried mutterings from South Wootton Parish Council.
Once the borough council produces detailed plans for these two developments, outlining exactly how many new houses will be built, there is bound to be an outcry locally.