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Freebridge to appeal rejection of its plans for King's Lynn estate

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Freebridge Community Housing has said it will appeal the decision by West Norfolk Council planners to reject its application to demolish three blocks on Hillington Square in Lynn.

Earlier this month, the borough's planning committee in considering the latest phase of the £30 million refurbishment of the 1960's estate, had rejected the application, calling the replacement block "ugly" and looking "Soviet".

Yesterday in a statement, Freebridge said it would appeal the decision, although it also said it would now be formulating plans for the blocks, Ladysmith House, Farrow House and Vicarage House, to be retained and refurbished as they are.

View from All Saints Street, artist impression of plans for the Hillington Square regeneration project. Picture: SUBMITTED (34954508)
View from All Saints Street, artist impression of plans for the Hillington Square regeneration project. Picture: SUBMITTED (34954508)

It will also said it would look at its plans for the rest of the estate, including Chestnut House, Aitken House, and Norris House.

A statement issued yesterday by Freebridge’s director of development, Paul Newbold said: “Having worked closely with the planning officers at the borough council to reach an acceptable proposal, in terms of scale and design for the final phases of the project, we were obviously very disappointed with the planning pommittees decision and comments.

“We have now had the opportunity to reflect upon the comments raised at the meeting, including the issues raised by the ward councillors and the residents living in the streets surrounding the estate.

"We have taken these comments on board and have decided to change our approach to the blocks that sit alongside Bridge Street and All Saints Street, namely Ladysmith House, Farrow House, and Vicarage House, returning to our earlier plan to refurbish them rather than demolishing and rebuilding.

“As we have already have previously agreed planning permission for this work to take place we will be discussing this proposal with our tenants, leaseholders and local residents in the next few weeks, and subject to their comments will be looking to start work by the end of the year.

“While this work takes place, we will be reviewing our plans for the remaining parts of the project, including Chestnut House, Aitken House, and Norris House, and will work with the planning officers and the local community to address the other comments and concerns raised by our original proposal.

“Finally, while we have no particular wish to appeal the planning committee’s decision, we do have to address the concerns regarding the condition of these blocks and the urgent need to return over 80 homes back into the affordable housing system.

“With that being the case, and given that plans we submitted were both compliant with planning policy and recommended for approval by the planning officers at the borough council, we reluctantly feel that we have to appeal the committee’s decision while continuing to work with officers to find an acceptable alternative approach for the final parts of the project.”

Wayne Hemingway's design company has acted as the consultants on the project since 2010. So far four on the blocks on the estate have been refurbished.

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