Levy accusation over fresh Heacham homes bid

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A new row has broken out after revised plans for a new housing scheme in Heacham were lodged this week.

Developers have submitted a new outline proposal to build 64 properties at land off Cheney Hill, instead of the 133 they had proposed last summer.

But community leaders have accused them of seeking to mislead residents, and cut their costs, by adding those homes to ones previously permitted, which together reach the same total.

Parish council chairman Michael Williamson said: “We feel very strongly that the landowner is trying to pull a fast one.”

Permission was originally granted for 69 homes on the land in October 2015, though not formally ratified until February of last year.

However, in July, the applicant, W H Kerkham (Rhoon) Ltd, submitted plans for 133 homes there – the 69 that had already been given the go-ahead, plus another 64.

It is then thought consent for the larger scheme, if granted, would have superceded the original.

However, details of the revised application were published on the planning section of West Norfolk Council’s website this week.

A letter to the authority from the applicant’s agent, the Pegasus Planning Group, said: “The total number of dwellings on the overall site will still be 133.

“It is considered that by removing the approved part of the development from this current application, this clarifies the current position and clearly separates out the approved and proposed elements.”

Senior parish councillors believe the switch has been brought about by the introduction of West Norfolk Council’s new community infrastructure levy on developments, which came into force on Wednesday.

Under the levy, developers would be required to pay £60 per square metre for eligible schemes in the north and east of the borough.

Mr Williamson said: “We suspect they are trying to get round that by leaving the original 69 to go ahead but with this additional 64 thus the site will still be an unacceptable 133.”

The parish authority maintains such a number is far too many for what they say is a dangerous area close to the entrance to the village’s junior school.