Stoke Ferry applications for up to 100 houses delayed as discussions set to be held
Two planning applications totalling up to 100 new houses in a West Norfolk village have been delayed so discussions can take place between planning consultants, parish councillors and concerned residents.
The outline applications were for the construction of up to 30 houses on Furlong Road and up to 70 houses on a Greenfield site next to Lynn Road in Stoke Ferry.
Before the borough council's planning committee sat to discuss the applications on Monday, a protest took place in Stoke Ferry asking for the existing fields and footpaths to be undisturbed.
The proposal covers two sites operated by the Stoke Ferry mill.
Stoke Ferry parish councillor Alun Ryves told the committee he was concerned the developer of the main site will leave the disused mill building as an "eyesore" for the village.
He also expressed fears over the future of three listed buildings in the village, Stoke Ferry Hall, the Cobbles and Bayfields as a result of the plans.
Mr Ryves also said any asbestos materials would have to be removed from the site when the mill is demolished.
"To my mind Stoke Ferry has been let down and is still littered with unused abandoned buildings," Mr Ryves said.
"We owe it to this community to ensure that the mill owners, who have profited for a considerable time through the operation of this facility will leave this site as they found it and that the potential for a successful development will not be squandered.
"What happens today will affect the heart of Stoke Ferry for a good many years. Please do not back down from our responsibility to ensure that development is fair, sustainable and reflects the needs and aspirations of this community in a way in which we as councillors can be justly proud of."
Consultant David Onions of Pegasus told the meeting a full public consultation took place in December, 2018.
He described it as a "thorough and proper way of publicising the scheme".
But councillor Terry Parish suggested the mill should be demolished first before any housing proposals go ahead.
And councillor Martin Storey added: "The fact is Stoke Ferry's history of planning applications has not been great. The mill site is the nuts and bolts of it.
"I think with fairness to the residents, you should look at the mill site first as it's the heart of Stoke Ferry."
Councillor Richard Blunt proposed residents and applicants should come together to agree to a suitable plan.
The majority of councillors were in favour of this decision, which was greeted by applause from residents in attendance at the meeting.
The Lynn News spoke to protestors from the Stoke Ferry Repaired group after the meeting
John Preston of the group, said "The initial consultation by Pegasus was shocking. It was not a consultation as there was so little that we could respond to.
"It was more like a box-ticking exercise. The material consultations do not actually reflect concerns of most of the villagers.
"The developer encouraged this application with no justification other than to maximise profits and this really stuck in people's throats. It's really scared a lot of the villagers."
Mr Preston said the group created their own consultation as a result, which 85 people responded to.
Carol Hunter of Stoke Ferry Repaired Group added: "We do not want business interests from outside which do not have any interest for the welfare of the village.
"I was pleasantly surprised by the attitude and concerns voiced by the councillors during the meeting.
"It's going to be approved at some stage but it may be the village now has more of a say. It may be the applicants underestimated the sense of feeling in the village."