Reports reveals viability delay on King's Lynn housing proposal
Opposition leaders and heritage campaigners have welcomed plans to scale back a contentious housing development in Gaywood.
Proposals for a reduced Parkway scheme, with no road bridge to Hardwick and no development of land which currently houses important wildlife habitats, were outlined earlier today.
And West Norfolk Council officials now say the benefits of the scheme, which its planning committee approved just seven weeks ago were not as extensive as previously thought.
A newly-published report, which recommends the currently permitted scheme does not proceed, is due to be considered at a cabinet meeting on June 15.
It said: "The viability of the bridge and housing on the Eastern portion of the site is heavily linked to funding through both the Towns fund (£5 million) and Business Rates Pool (£2 million).
"Any assessment of viability would be subject to a business case being prepared and agreed as part of the Towns fund deal, the outcome of which will not be known until 2022."
The paper continued: "One of the original objectives for the scheme was intending to improve connectivity between Fairstead and Hardwick and reduce congestion around the Gaywood clock.
"The Council has been particularly keen to promote higher standards of construction within this site reducing carbon emissions.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that the restrictions on the planning permission preventing access into the Fairstead and diverting flows through Gaywood clock reduce the benefits that had originally been identified."
Terry Parish, leader of the main opposition Independent group, said he had received assurances that a scheme to build on the eastern side of the Parkway site would not be brought forward in the future.
He added: "As I proposed exactly that option at the controversial planning committee (defeated by one vote I think), I cannot but agree that this is the best way forward.
"What the reasons are for this change of direction can only be speculated on.
"Let us assume that they are the best reasons, maintaining a green space at the heart of a community."
Alison Gifford, chairman of the Lynn Civic Society, which also called for a reduced development in the aftermath of the April planning decision, said the group was "very pleased by the change of heart.
But she warned that much more still needs to be done to ensure residents have sufficient open spaces in the town.
She said: "There is a lot of new housing recently completed or planned for the town and this growing community will also need high quality public open space in order to lead happy and healthy lives.
"We must also design for nature and allow sufficient space for establishing trees and other green infrastructure.
"Not only do we need to safeguard existing public space, but we must deliver new parks and play areas.
"In recent months alone, there have been planning applications for several hundred new flats in repurposed shops and offices within the town centre, most with no outdoor space at all.
"We will be building in future problems if these new residents have no places to meet and socialise outside."