Council backs Northwold coal yard homes bid, despite road worry
Up to 12 new homes on a former coal yard have been granted permission in principle by councillors, despite fears raised over road safety.
West Norfolk borough council’s planning committee considered the application for the homes on the edge of Northwold at a Monday meeting.
Applicant John Murphy told the meeting: “I have the opportunity to turn an old coal yard, that’s become obsolete, into a fantastic place to live, with footpath links to the village.
“It will reduce the number of slow-moving heavy goods vehicles to the site, and it will have the added benefit of turning a contaminated site into a clean and viable site for family homes.”
While councillors were generally supportive of the application, they expressed concern over road safety on the A134, from which the homes would be accessed.
Norfolk County Council’s highways department had no objection to the plan, but recommended “conditions relating to the laying out of roads, footways, visibility splays and on-site parking for construction workers and delivery vehicles”.
Despite the borough council’s planning officers placing a condition that no homes can be occupied until highway improvement works have been carried out around the access, several councillors remained worried.
Conservative councillor Elizabeth Nockolds said that while she supported more provision of housing in villages, she thought more thought needed to be given to traffic calming measures.
“I am aware of a fatal accident within the last eighteen months in that same area, so I do feel that the highways [department] really should look at this a little longer,” she said.
Independent councillor Alan Holmes said: “It’s a bypass for a village and we’re putting on it, a housing estate. It just feels wrong.
“It’s the main access road from the A47 from the Midlands and the north for Felixstowe docks. That’s not going to go away, if anything, it’s going to get worse.”
A council officer said the application should be considered on its own merits, rather than wider concerns about the safety of the A134, and that the highways department “do look at things carefully”.
Mr Holmes and independent opposition leader Terry Parish nonetheless proposed deferring the decision in order to visit the site with highways officers, to further outline their concerns, but this was narrowly defeated.
The committee then voted by 10 to four in favour of the plan, with two abstentions.