Planners urge backing for major Downham Market housing bid

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Hundreds of new homes on the edge of Downham may be given the go-ahead next week following the support of borough planning officials.

Community leaders opposed the proposed development off Nightingale Lane, which could see up to 300 new homes built, last month.

But officials have recommended the scheme is approved by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee, subject to the completion of legal agreements, when it meets in Lynn on Monday.

Although planning consent for 170 homes on the land was granted last summer, a further application for up to 500 properties was then lodged.

A report to the committee said the developer, the Grosvenor Partnership 3 LLP, then reduced the total to 300 when officials told them that breached planning guidelines.

The site had previously been allocated for a minimum of 130 additional homes under the borough council’s plan for future housing development.

But, following an extraordinary meeting last month in which members voted to object to the scheme, deputy town clerk Richard Davidson wrote: “The proposal is totally at odds with adjacent and similar developments.”

The town council claims the development would have a density rate of 46 properties per hectare if approved in its current form, meaning it should be classed as a “high density inner city” scheme.

It says that is nearly twice the density envisaged by the allocation in the development framework and is inappropriate for the area, particularly given what it claims is the “unprecendented” number of major applications currently lodged for the town.

But borough officials say the numbers specified in the framework should be seen as a minimum, following the recommendations of the planning inspector who assessed the document.

The report added: “It is considered that the site can accommodate up to 300 dwellings without material harm to the visual amenity of the locality, highway safety or neighbour amenity.”