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New planning development in Downham Market branded "cheap and profitable"

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Plans for hundreds of new homes on the edge of Downham were branded "cheap and profitable" during a meeting last night.

Although the scheme was given outline planning permission on appeal three years ago, having initially been turned down by West Norfolk Council, detailed proposals for the site have now been submitted.

But, despite a warning there was little they could do to prevent the scheme proceeding, many members expressed disappointment during a special meeting held over Zoom on Tuesday evening.

Downham Market Town Council Offices, Annual Mayor Making Ceremony..New Mayor For Downham Market Becky Hayes. (10337788)
Downham Market Town Council Offices, Annual Mayor Making Ceremony..New Mayor For Downham Market Becky Hayes. (10337788)

Among them was Rachel Hepworth, who said: “The houses are cheap and profitable, however they do not match the local vernacular.

"I think it’s cheek that the developers said they had attempted to match the local colour palette and materials as they have used red brick and grey slate roofs.”

Town mayor Becky Hayes agreed, telling colleagues: “Developers did say ‘they tried to use the local vernacular and colour palette’ but I can see they haven’t done much to match that at all.”

And Jackie Westrop was also worried about the potential impact on wildlife.

She said: “As well as the obvious concerns that local carrstone hasn’t been used for the buildings I have worries about the natural biodiversity of the area being disrupted by building work, especially the newt population.

"I would want reassurances that the area would remain diverse and the natural habitats of wildlife would not be disturbed.”

Mrs Hayes also proposed: “I would ask that the natural cycle and walking routes be preserved or improved upon when building work takes place.”

The meeting also heard concerns that some of the new homes would be too close to existing property boundaries in the area.

The police and members of the public have raised issues with the new development with regard to the safety of car parking.

Mrs Hayes said: “The houses are now being advertised on Right Move for sale and I would want reassurances from developers that they will not affect the security of the allotments and parking areas nearby.

"These are valid concerns raised by the public.”

There were also calls for the sewage system to be improved, amid fears that the existing system is already struggling to cope with demand.

The town council's comments come soon after the neighbouring parish authority in Denver raised objections to the new application.

It is worried that traffic volumes through the village may rise as a result of the roundabout that is proposed as an access point to the site.

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