Downham Town council fights for planning money

Downham Market St Winnold's annual parade. pictured Downham's Mayor John Fox. ANL-160318-194036009
Downham Market St Winnold's annual parade. pictured Downham's Mayor John Fox. ANL-160318-194036009

Councillors are calling for developers to be charged more in order to improve the infrastructure in a West Norfolk town.

Downham Town Council is angry that West Norfolk Council has not introduced a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to the east of the town, which is an area earmarked for major developments.

CIL is a planning charge introduced by the 2008 Planning Act, which can be imposed on developments of more than 100sq metres, to help local authorities improve facilities.

Downham councillors have been told that there are no plans to introduce this charge to the east as developers would have no excess funds to pay it.

But, speaking at the annual meeting on Thursday last week town councillor Frank Daymond said: “This is a battle we have been fighting for 10 years.

“We are still not receiving any planning gain money and under the CIL system it appears that Downham has not been assigned with the CIL money as they figure it is not necessary so say the borough council.”

Town mayor John Fox last week spoke out in the Lynn News to say the town needed more investment as it is experiencing car parking problems along with reducing spaces in the schools and doctors surgeries.

At the annual meeting after clerk Jean Markwell outlined the CIL situation, Mr Fox added: “That is what the borough have told us and that is not what the town council is accepting.”

Downham is in line for major building towards the east of the town.

Investment and farming company Albanwise has applied to construct 284 homes on a section of land between Downham and Wimbotsham.

Public art projects, play areas along with a mixture of affordable and executive housing could be built on the agricultural field off Bridle Lane.

Motorists will be able to access the site from Lynn Road using a ghost island and there are also hopes to link the site to the A10.

n Meanwhile, plans are also due to be lodged soon to build the £350million Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering on Bexwell Road. Turn to page 13 for more on the public consultation.