West Norfolk villages set for more new homes

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Several West Norfolk villages are likely to see more new homes built than previously thought, following a report by a government planning inspector.

The calls for extra housing in Feltwell, Tilney St Lawrence, Denver and St Germans are among more than 60 proposed changes to the borough council’s blueprint for future development, which will be debated next week.

But the overall number of new homes proposed has fallen slightly.

The latest report follows an examination of the authority’s plans for development over the next decade by planning inspector David Hogger last autumn.

It sets out the land allocations for around 6.300 new homes that officials expect to be built in the borough over the next decade, down approximately 150 on earlier figures.

The biggest falls are in areas in and around the district’s main towns, such as the Bankside site in West Lynn, where the number of new homes proposed has been cut from at least 200 to a minimum of 120.

Mr Hogger’s report said: “Whilst I acknowledge that the Bankside site will make use of a derelict brownfield site, it extends some distance along the bank of the river and it will be clearly seen not only from the river but more importantly from the riverside in King’s Lynn. The visual implications of 200 dwellings on this site could be significant.

“I agree that a reduced level of development on this prominent site is likely to result in a visually more satisfactory scheme which would represent the most appropriate strategy for the site.”

But the proposals suggest that a site off Oak Street, Feltwell, where a minimum of 15 homes were initially envisaged, could now accommodate at least 50.

Land for a minimum of 40 homes has been allocated in Tilney St Lawrence, while new schemes of at least eight and five homes are also proposed in Denver and St Germans respectively.

The document has to be deemed to be sound before it can become part of development policies.

And council officials say they proposed the modifications, which will be discussed at a cabinet meeting next Wednesday, to the inspector.

The document also includes a firm commitment to establishing a green infrastructure levy on new developments, which was first outlined last summer.

Other measures include a commitment not to allow direct access to major roads, such as the A47, A10 and A149, from new development sites, and a pledge to safeguard former rail tracks and routes for use as paths, cycle paths or even new rail links from development, unless alternative provision can be secured.

And officials have pledged to take a “positive approach” towards development plans at both the CITB complex in Bircham Newton and RAF Marham.

The report says: “The borough council will be willing to consider some relaxation of the application of policies for the location of, say, housing and new employment uses, provided this does not compromise the settlement strategy taken as a whole.”

The inspector has also called for an early review of the framework, on which council officers say work is already underway.

A committee meeting this week was told that a formal review document could be published as early as next summer.