Taxpayers look set for a hefty bill after West Norfolk Council was found to have acted unreasonably in refusing planning permission for a retirement flats complex in Lynn.
A government inspector has now approved the proposal for the old Lynn Silos site on the South Quay and ordered the council to pay the developer’s costs.
Last November, the borough council’s planning committee rejected McCarthy and Stone’s proposals for the site in a dispute over the amount it felt the developer should pay towards affordable housing in the area.
The decision was made after the company won a similar appeal in relation to a similar scheme in Hunstanton.
And officers warned at the time that the council could be on “a hiding to nothing” by rejecting the South Quay scheme.
But the inspector’s report has now revealed that, while the council withdrew that reason for refusing permission in March, officials said they could not guarantee the application would be approved if it was resubmitted.
The report said that left McCarthy and Stone with no choice but to pursue the appeal.
It said of the council: “It unreasonably refused a planning application and prevented or delayed a development that, as it now accepts, should have been permitted.”
The ruling requires McCarthy and Stone to submit details of its costs to the borough council in a bid to reach an agreement. If no deal can be reached, the parties can apply for an independent assessment.
There has, so far, been no comment from either the council or McCarthy and Stone about the ruling.
It is also unclear whether the ruling affects the ongoing negotiations between the council and the company over a possible sale of the site to the council.