Second inquiry looms after judge overturns Sculthorpe homes planning refusla

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A High Court judge has quashed a decision to reject a major housing plan near Fakenham, more than two years after it was first considered.

The ruling means a second public inquiry will now take place on the proposal for 200 homes, associated infrastructure and a new primary school in Sculthorpe, unless any fresh legal action is lodged.

And a village councillor has pledged to carry on fighting against a development he says is unsuitable for the area.

Ward representative Tom FitzPatrick said: “This decision is extremely disappointing both for the people of the village of Sculthorpe and the district council.

“I will continue to work with the parish council and the Sculthorpe Action Group in support of the wishes of the community to continue to resist this application.”

North Norfolk Distruct Council first rejected the proposal, submitted by the Amstel Group Corporation, in January 2016.

A government inspector then upheld that decision last summer, following a six-day public inquiry.

But a further appeal against was lodged at the High Court last month.

And the judgement, delivered earlier today. concluded the inspector was wrong not to consider the potential community benefits from the scheme. However, it rejected each of the other grounds of appeal.

The appeal was made against the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whose inspector had backed the original decision.

But the district council, which says all of its three political groups oppose the scheme, now has three weeks to consider whether to lodge its own appeal .

Mr FitzPatrick said: “The district council will continue to fight this planning application through the correct channels, because there is a firm belief this number of houses is wrong for the proposed location and is not sustainable.

“New large-scale housing development in the west of the district would be best located at Fakenham with good access to a range of local community services, retail and employment opportunities.”