Gayton will be ‘swamped’ by new housing plans, councillor warns

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Plans for more than 90 new homes in a West Norfolk village have been approved, despite fears about the wider impact on the area.

Councillors were warned the three separate applications for sites in Gayton would “swamp” the village when they were debated on Friday afternoon.

But members of the borough council’s planning committee gave each of them the green light after officials warned they could not demonstrate significant harm would be caused by them.

The decisions allow for 40 properties to be built on land off Back Street, with 29 proposed for the site of the former Allens garage on Lynn Road and up to 24 on land at the rear of the former Rampant Horse pub.

Community leaders say those schemes, together with recently approved applications and others set to be submitted in the near future, could increase the number of homes in the village by up to a third.

And, in a statement read to the committee on his behalf, resident Geoff Gibling called for all development in the village to be suspended until questions relating to the location of a proposed new school and drainage problems are resolved.

Mr Gibling claimed the proposed site of the school, at the junction of Back Street and Winch Road had been abandoned.

He also argued that new development would breach planning guidelines because it would cause flooding problems further downstream.

But, when similar issues were raised by members, principal planner Stuart Ashworth said Anglian Water were satisfied that the issues raised by the schemes could be resolved if suitable conditions were enforced.

He also warned that the company would not support the council at a subsequent appeal if the schemes were rejected.

But former borough mayor Geoffrey Wareham said that, together, the three applications were excessive.

He said: “It’s unfair and unreasonable for the village to be expected to digest all of this in one go.

“The village is going to be absolutely swamped. It’s unreasonable and I don’t think it’s sustainable.”

Fellow committee member Jim Moriarty added that such an increase in the size of the village had never been contemplated when it was assessed as part of work on the borough’s framework of future housing developments.

He argued that the proposals, taken together, would have a “significant impact on the fabric of the community.”

But Chris Crofts indicated his support for the proposals, even though he acknwledged there would be an impact on the village.

He urged community leaders to secure commitments from the developers to improve facilities for the community.

And Mr Ashworth said the authority would have to be able to demonstrate such harm in order to reject the proposals.

He said: “You can argue it, but what’s the harm?”