Betrayal claim over King's Lynn homes bid U-turn
Councillors have been accused of betraying a community after they dropped a key objection to a major housing scheme on the edge of Lynn.
Plans for 600 new homes at Knights Hill were rejected in March, on grounds of transport and heritage impact.
But, now, the borough council’s planning committee has voted to withdraw the transport issue, following legal advice which warned the position couldn’t be sustained.
Members, who made the decision during a closed session on Monday, were also warned that the council could be left liable for a £500,000 legal bill if they stuck to their original decision.
But, although the authority still plans to fight a public inquiry on the application over its alleged impact on local landmarks, opponents say they are appalled at the apparent U-turn on an issue they feel will have a far greater impact on the area.
Castle Rising parish councillor David Goddard said the impact of additional traffic from this and other developments, which may add up to as many as 2,000 extra vehicles, could not be ignored and suggested the strength of visible public opposition had been a factor in the original refusal.
He added: “Each objector, I believe, will quite rightly now feel betrayed and let down by the present planning committee.
“Sadly, local democracy has been further damaged.”
The committee’s chairman, Chris Crofts, said he understood why people would be angry at the decision, which a council statement issued after the debate said had been approved by seven votes to four.
But he insisted that there was “nothing sinister” about their stance.
He said: “We were advised it was likely we would lose and it could cost the council a lot of money.”
He also pointed out that the highways stance was further weakened by a lack of support from Norfolk County Council officials, who did not raise objections when the application was originally considered.