Clenchwarton homes bid is rejected by committee

editorial image

Plans for a new housing estate on the edge of a West Norfolk village may help to reduce cases of flytipping in the area, the borough’s mayor has claimed.

Supporters of the scheme for 28 new homes on Main Road, Clenchwarton argued it would also enable a new tourist attraction for the area to be built.

But the scheme was overwhelmingly rejected by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee during a meeting yesterday morning.

They voted 13 to one to accept officers’ recommendations on the scheme, which they said was not necessary due to its location outside the settlement boundary and the allocation of other sites for development in the village.

But borough mayor David Whitby, the village’s ward councillor, gave his backing to the scheme, arguing that it could help to tackle the problem of flytipping in a layby opposite the site.

He said: “The clean-up tema have been called there several times. A small amount of housing there would help to solve that problem.”

Committee member Chris Crofts said he also had “some sympathy” with the proposal, which he felt might have been given the go-ahead if it had been brought forward earlier, given the council’s previous lack of an adequate supply of housing land.

He said: “Six or eight months ago we may have looked at this completely differently and I think we may have approved developments that are less sustainable than this one.”

Vice-chairman Mick Peake also called for a site visit, though that proposal was defeated.

Ahead of the meeting, the developers, KRB Builders Ltd, said the scheme should be seen as an enabling development that would allow the landowner, Danny Thorpe, to go ahead with work on a “lighthouse style observatory, including a Wash Visitor Centre, and Port & Marina complex off Clockcase Road adjoining the river.”

But officials said far more detail of the proposal would be needed for it to affect their recommendations.

The applicant also insisted the site should be classed as largely brownfield, because of the timber yard that currently operates there.

But the meeting was told that the yard was an unauthorised use of the site and committee chairman Vivienne Spikings called for action to be taken on the issue.

And Geoff Hall, the council’s executive director of planning, said the use of the site was a “red herring” in relation to the proposed housing scheme.

Planning agent Ian Bix further criticised officers’ proposed recommendation of refusal on flood risk grounds, insisting that the likelihood of flooding there was lower than at other sites within the village, which have been allocated for development.