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Huge King's Lynn housing bid thrown out by council committee

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Residents and campaigners packed the Town Hall in King's Lynn for the South Wootton proposed housing meeting.. (7754706)
Residents and campaigners packed the Town Hall in King's Lynn for the South Wootton proposed housing meeting.. (7754706)

Proposals for 600 new homes on the edge of Lynn have been unanimously rejected by councillors today.

Hundreds of objectors packed into Lynn's town hall to hear the debate on the plan to develop land at Knights Hill.

And they loudly applauded when members of West Norfolk Council's planning committee voted to refuse permission, having earlier visited the site.

Speaking after the decision was announced, South Wootton parish council chairman David Price said: "I'm absolutely delighted with the result. It's beyond my expectations."

But the decision is unlikely to spell the end of the story and senior planning officers warned committee members during the debate that they expected an appeal would follow any decision to refuse consent.

Ahead of the meeting, they had recommended the outline scheme be given the go-ahead, subject to the completion of legal agreements.

But members argued that the impact of additional traffic had not been fully accounted for and the development would have an unacceptable impact on nearby heritage assets, particularly Castle Rising Castle.

Committee member Martin Storey asked his colleagues: "How can I honestly support something that is going to make an area worse?"

The meeting was told that the area around Knights Hill had been viewed as an area for potential housing growth since the early 2000s and the principal of development there had been accepted since the development of the last local plan for the borough in 2011.

Paul Belton, speaking on behalf of the applicants, listed in agenda papers as Whistle Wood and Reffley Wood Ltd and Mr P De Gray Osborn, argued the plan offered a low density of housing, which was met with cries of "Rubbish" from onlookers.

He added: "This application accords with the development plan. Our position is that permission should be granted."

But Steven Fidgett, a planning consultant for the Castle Rising estate and surrounding parish councils, claimed officers' report on the scheme was "flawed in planning and law" and suggested a decision to approve the scheme could be subject to legal challenge.

Borough council deputy leader Elizabeth Nockolds said she had never received as much correspondence from residents as she had on this application.

And borough mayor Nick Daubney pleaded with the committee to repay the trust placed in councillors by voters by rejecting the plan, telling them: "When we damage our communties, we have broken that trust."

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