Heacham housing scheme is ‘premature’, says parish council

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Proposals to build dozens of new homes in a West Norfolk coastal village have been rejected as “premature” by community leaders.

But planning officials say the scheme for land at Cheney Hill, Heacham, should be approved when it is debated by a West Norfolk Council committee next week, subject to the completion of legal agreements.

The contracts, which must be signed within three months if the scheme is approved, relate to issues including affordable housing, open space and play facilities and habitat migration contributions.

Applicant W H Kerkham (Rhoon) Ltd is seeking outline permission for up to 69 homes and associated infrastructure on a 3.5 hectare area of agricultural land.

But that number exceeds the number of homes recommended for the area under the borough council’s local development proposals, on which a public inquiry resumed in Lynn earlier this week.

The village’s parish council has objected to the scheme, arguing that it has been submitted “prematurely” as the local development framework has still to be adopted.

Members also feel the area is being asked to take an excessive proportion of development, because of the nearby Hopkins Homes proposal on the southern edge of Hunstanton.

Critics of that scheme fear access to that site from Hunstanton Road, Heacham, will put excessive pressure on the village.

The parish authority added: “We have grave concerns about the access point at the foot of Cheney Hill when other more sensible accesses are available.

“This is already a black spot, particularly in term time when children are dropped off and picked up to go to the Junior School and others are walking to the Infant School.”

But county roads officials have not objected to the scheme, subject to the agreement of a construction traffic management plan.

In their report to the borough council’s planning committee, which meets in Lynn on Monday, officials said the benefits of the plan towards the council’s current stock of available housing land should be taken into account.

In July, the authority lost a High Court challenge over a housing development on the old Fosters sports ground in Clenchwarton after it was deemed it did not have an adequate supply of housing land.

Officers added: “Given the circumstances it is considered that the proposal represents sustainable development.”