Proposals for a major housing scheme in Downham have been refused by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee.
The application for 300 new homes on land off Nightingale Lane had been recommended for approval by planning officials, but the committee agreed the density of the scheme was too high.
At the meeting this morning, Downham Town Council’s deputy mayor Frank Daymond told the committee that the town had seen an “unprecedented” number of major planning applications.
He said: “The allocation for this site is oversubscribed. The town’s infrastructure is unable to support this application.”
But Richard Brown, the agent for developer Grosvenor Partnership 3 LLP, said: “This is not mass over-development. Development means growth, which is important for future generations.”
Councillor Jackie Westrop told the committee that the proposals were a “step too far”, and said that they failed to promote “sustained health and wellbeing”.
“People are rightly concerned about roads, schools and healthcare in the town. We have to start questioning why we are not taking these into consideration,” Mrs Westrop added.
Committee members expressed concerns for the number of houses proposed on the site, with chairman Vivienne Spikings stating that a high density scheme was “never what this site was ever about”.
She said: “This is more than double the number that this site was originally supposed to have. We need new homes in West Norfolk, but this is too high.”
Martin Storey said it would help the committee determine the application if they were told how many applications had already been granted for Downham where the work had not yet been completed, but he was told this was not possible.
“Why agree so many applications where the infrastructure is in question,” he siad.
Members also questioned the position of a proposed roundabout with access to the site but were told by the council’s executive director Geoff Hall that this was not in the applicant’s control.
The committee refused the application on the grounds of its density, on the location of the roundabout and the scheme’s sustainability.
Planning consent for 170 homes to be built on the land off of the A1122 was granted last summer, and this will remain in place despite this morning’s decision.