'Give us our say.' Consultation questioned ahead of King's Lynn housing scheme decision
Fresh concerns have been raised about the handling of a major housing development in Gaywood, just days before it's due to go before councillors.
A decision is expected next week on plans for around 380 homes off Parkway, plus a new road link to the Hardwick Industrial Estate.
But some residents, as well as objectors to the scheme, have called for a fresh set of public consultations to take place before a decision is reached.
They point out that a consultation event was due to take place on the scheme a year ago, on the eve of the initial coronavirus lockdown, and say a similar event should still be held now.
However, a special meeting of the West Norfolk Council planning committee has been arranged for next Wednesday, March 31, to discuss the issue and officers' recommendations on the application are likely to be published this week.
Resident Kerron Abel said: "I am sure, like me, many people have questions to ask. With at least 2,500 people signing a petition, democracy will be best served, by allowing people to be listened to, about their concerns for this generation, and more importantly future generations.
"I fully accept the council made the right decision to cancel the day at the Gaywood Rooms, due to the pandemic.
"But it seems now that restrictions are beginning to be lifted, and a new date should be pencilled in for public consultation, before going to full planning committee."
The council says the consultation was moved online, with members of the public having several weeks to make their views known.
But a spokesman added that there is still an opportunity for residents to express their opinions before the planning committee meets.
Further questions have also been raised about the potential environmental impact of the scheme, following claims made by cabinet member Peter Gidney that the plan would enhance the area's environment.
More than 2,500 people have signed an online petition against the proposal, which they claim would destroy a vital area of habitat.
And environmental campaigner Dr Pallavi Devulapalli said residents would be following the process closely.
She said: "A wrong decision by the committee will erode public confidence in the council and in democracy itself.
"I hope the planning committee take this opportunity to reassure the residents of Lynn that their welfare is paramount in influencing the Council's decision-making processes."
But the council spokesman said: “The team have worked hard on mitigating measures to allay the ecology concerns. What we have ended up with is a scheme that will stand as an example to all; that not just meets the regulations on mitigation measures but goes way beyond.
"This is demonstrated by the borough councils determination to provide 10 acres off site habitat area, tree replacement at a rate of 3 for 1 together with all the other measures mentioned within the application.”