Councillor calls for referendum on King’s Lynn housing proposals

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Residents should decide whether controversial plans to build hundreds of new homes in North Lynn and Gaywood should go ahead, a borough councillor has claimed.

Last week, West Norfolk Council chiefs announced they were scaling down their proposals to develop lands around the Lynnsport and Marsh Lane areas, in response to opposition from local people.

But critics have said they will continue to oppose the scheme, even though they welcome the changes made, and met at the weekend in order to co-ordinate the next phase of their campaign.

And UKIP group leader Paul Foster has now suggested that, following the poll the borough council organised over the Lynn incinerator in 2011, people in the areas affected by the scheme should also be given the chance to vote on this subject aswell.

During Thursday’s full council meeting, he asked whether the authority would “simply apply pre-determined policy” when decisions on the revised scheme are taken.

The council’s cabinet are due to examine the latest proposals tonight.

And Mr Foster asked leader Nick Daubney: “Will you let the people decide, if they wish for their green space to destroyed?

“Will you give the people in the wards the Lynnsport development effects a referendum on your proposals?”

But Mr Daubney dismissed the idea. adding: “It’s not predetermined policy. The council will determine that policy so I guess the answer to that is no.”

Papers published last week ahead of today’s meeting revealed that a proposed housing site known as Lynnsport 2, which covers an area including the River Lane playing fields, will not now be developed.

That will reduce the overall number of homes proposed for the project by a quarter to around 450. Of those, 67 will be affordable.

And officials have also confirmed that a plan to install bollards on Marsh Lane, which would have prevented residents from driving towards the Wootton Road junction, will be dropped.

Should cabinet members support the new proposals today, they will then go before the next full council meeting on February 26.

And officers say they hope to submit a planning application for the first stage of home-building, on the Marsh Lane site, by the end of March and begin building work this autumn if permission is secured.

However, despite the concessions, local residents remain concerned about the impact of the remaining proposals on existing householders.

A call has already been made for the River Lane area to be removed from all future housing provisions in order to properly safeguard the open space.

And objectors are also worried that the proposed link road from Edward Benefer Way to Lynnsport, which would feed into the housing developments, could become a rat run.

The road is the subject of a separate planning application which council officials say could be determined as early as March.