Major King's Lynn housing scheme approved by council, despite habitat warnings
Controversial plans for hundreds of new homes and a road bridge in Gaywood have been given the go-ahead by councillors this afternoon.
West Norfolk Council's planning committee was warned it risking taking "the lungs" out of Lynn by backing the authority's own proposals to develop land off Parkway.
But the committee voted 11 to six to back the scheme, subject to the completion of legal agreements, a short time ago.
An earlier proposal, made by Terry Parish, to reject the application was defeated by 10 votes to seven.
During a marathon meeting, which continued over more than five hours, objectors claimed the multi-phase plan risked "annihilating nature" because of the feared loss of vital habitat.
Committee member Tom Ryves asked his colleagues: "Are we going to be the group of councillors that rips the lungs out of King's Lynn?"
However, supporters insisted the plan would enhance habitat, rather than reducing it.
Committee chairman Chris Crofts said he was concerned that some members seemed willing to turn the scheme down on the basis that the borough was deemed to have a sufficient supply of housing land.
He said the loss of that status would be brought much closer if the scheme was rejected.
He added: "I believe this is an A1 application. I feel the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages."
Concerns were also raised during the debate that while part of the application site is part of the borough's plans for future housing allocations, the area containing the disputed habitats is not.
Some members questioned whether the plan should have been split up so that the elements of the plan which were not the subject of significant opposition could proceed.
One of them, Francis Bone, said: "It's a shame it's been presented in one because I'm inclined not to go for it."
But Vivienne Spikings said: "Members can't just pick out the elements they don't like. I'm quite happy with what is proposed. This is a much needed housing development."
And there were also suggestions the application was being treated differently from those brought forward by private developers, because of the number of presentations made at other meetings.
But officials rejected that claim and insisted it was up to the developer to present its proposals in a manner of its choosing.