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February appeal date set on Clenchwarton sports ground homes bid

An appeal against councillors' decision to block plans for dozens of new homes in a West Norfolk village is set to be heard next month.

Residents of Clenchwarton are being encouraged to attend a special meeting tomorrow to discuss the latest moves relating to the former Fosters Sports Ground.

But developers proposing the scheme have insisted it would be in the "public interest" for it to be given the go-ahead.

Former Fosters S&SC site at Clenchwarton. (26047251)
Former Fosters S&SC site at Clenchwarton. (26047251)

The current appeal relates to an application for outline permission to build 40 homes on the northern part of the site, which was turned down by West Norfolk Council in the autumn of 2018.

An appeal against that decision, lodged by applicant Elm Park Holdings, is due to be heard at Lynnsport on February 5.

And notices have been delivered to homes in the village advising that an extraordinary parish council meeting will take place at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday evening at 7pm to discuss the issue.

The letters, which were signed in the name of a body calling itself the Millennium Residents Group, said: "All those with an interest are welcome to attend to make their views known."

In their notice of decision, borough council planning officials scheme breached national policy guidelines on flood risk grounds.

They also argued that the council could demonstrate an adequate five-year supply of housing land, which was the crucial factor in the developers winning permission for an earlier proposal.

But, although they acknowledged "tension" between the current application and the council's own blueprint for development, they maintain the scheme should be allowed to proceed.

Documents submitted on their behalf, and published via the borough council's planning website, said: "The Appellant will submit that the overall public interest would be best served by a grant of planning permission.

"In summary form, the tension with the provisions of the development plan is outweighed by the planning advantages in securing the delivery of housing at a sustainable location."

The developers say they are also willing to increase the proportion of affordable housing that forms part of the current scheme and claim to have the support of the parish council.

Parish council officials say they will consider their response to the appeal at tomorrow's meeting.

However, some residents say issues relating to earlier schemes also relate to this one.

The land has previously been the subject of a legal battle which saw the borough council lose its bid to stop an earlier application for another 40 homes on the site in July 2015.

Although that proposal was originally rejected by the council, a High Court judge upheld a government inspector's ruling overturning the decision, arguing that the authority could not demonstrate it had sufficient levels of housing land.

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