Housing plans approved for ‘eyesore’ site in Docking

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Plans to build 77 new houses on a site in Docking previously described as an ‘eyesore’ have been approved by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee.

The committee discussed the application for dwellings and ancillary buildings to be constructed on the former Granaries site on Station Road for a second time, after it was previously deferred for amendments to be made to original proposals.

Councillors deferred the plans back in September as they wanted to see more ‘pepper-potting’ of the 15 affordable housing units within the rest of the site.

Other concerns were regarding access to the site, and extra strain on the village generally.

At that time, Martin Storey said: “If this is not pepper-potted, we would be sending the wrong message of ‘us and them’.”

At the committee meeting on Monday, though, councillors had varying opinions on the amendments made to original plans.

Carol Bower said: “I actually think [Avada] have gone a long way to address the criticisms and have aligned everything differently.”

But a number of councillors still took issue with pepper-potting, and said the design did not integrate affordable housing enough.

Chairwoman Vivienne Spikings said: “I’m disappointed as it’s not what I call pepper-potting. It’s all in one corner, so it’s not spread through the site.”

Mrs Spikings proposed a motion to refuse the application based on this, but it was not carried through.

The council’s assistant director of environment and planning Stuart Ashworth said: “[The plan] is in accordance with our policy. The maximum cluster size for affordable housing is eight, and this is compliant with that.”

Martin Storey said: “Avada have bent over backwards, so all credit to them for doing it. I think we’ve got to change the policy.”

Avril Wright said: “There’s enormous attention to detail in these plans, and yes there is a block of affordable housing which brings our policy into question.”

The plans were approved by the majority of the committee, with 12 members voting in favour.