Council urged to halt legal row over Snettisham homes plan

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Councillors have been urged to allow more time to resolve a legal wrangle over a proposed housing development in Snettisham and stop it from being settled in the courts.

Planning permission for a revised scheme on a site in Common Road was granted earlier this year, subject to the completion of legal agreements over affordable housing provision.

But officials have recommended that developers are given another two months to complete the deal when the matter goes back to the West Norfolk Council planning committee next Monday.

They also warned that moves to block the scheme could be challenged by the applicant.

Initial proposals for 24 homes in the area were rejected by the borough council last year in a decision that was subsequently overturned on appeal.

However, the authority then submitted a legal challenge, arguing that the inspector’s decision to grant permission was flawed.

Although a date has been set for the court hearing, planning officers’ report to the committee said the authority had agreed to withdraw its challenge, following the submission of a revised plan by developers Hopkins and Moore.

That plan, which officials said had addressed the council’s concerns, was approved in February, subject to a legal agreement being completed by early May to secure affordable housing as part of the scheme.

Although the deadline has now passed, the report said an acceptable agreement proposal has now been presented to the council and the deadline to complete it should be extended until late August.

It warned: “The initial resolution does not allow an approval to be issued as the deadlines set out have not been met.

“However, a refusal on this basis would not be defensible as an acceptable agreement has been submitted.”

The scheme is the second major housing development proposed in Common Road this year.

Back in January, a proposal for 11 chalet homes on the former site of the Norfolk Hospice Tapping House, submitted by a company whose directors include ex-Grand Prix racing driver Martin Brundle, was given the go-ahead.

However, community leaders have repeatedly voiced concerns about the impact of new developments in the area on drainage systems, which they argue have not been addressed.