Controversial King's Lynn housing scheme backed by Government
Plans for hundreds of new homes on the edge of Lynn have been given the go-ahead by the Government today.
Ministers have overturned West Norfolk Council's decision to reject the scheme at Knights Hill, following a public inquiry held earlier this year.
And the town's MP has criticised the decision, claiming the views of residents have been "disregarded."
Borough councillors turned down the plan, which included up to 600 homes, a local centre, shops and open spaces in March last year.
At the time, they cited traffic concerns and the impact on local heritage assets as their reasons for the unanimous decision.
But the transport issue was later dropped when lawyers acting for the developers warned the authority could be liable for hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal costs if the decision was reversed.
A public inquiry into the scheme was subsequently held in January.
And a letter from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which has been released this afternoon, said the inspector appointed to hear that inquiry had recommended the appeal should be allowed.
It added: "The benefits of the appeal scheme are collectively sufficient to outbalance the identified ‘less than substantial’ harm to heritage assets he has identified.
"Overall the Secretary of State considers that the material considerations in this case indicate a decision in line with the development plan – i.e. a grant of permission.
"The Secretary of State therefore concludes that the appeal should be allowed and planning permission granted, subject to conditions."
The news is likely to be greeted with bitter disappointment among councillors and campaigners who fought the proposal.
The letter said objectors now have six weeks to apply to the High Court for permission to bring a statutory review of the decision.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said a short time ago: “This is a very disappointing decision based on an Inspector’s report that overrides strong local opposition to this development.
"Despite acknowledging that the development is not required to meet local housing needs, the Inspector recommended it be allowed to proceed.
"I spoke against this proposal at the inquiry on behalf of my constituents and I am saddened that their views have been disregarded.”