‘Unsafe’ Clenchwarton homes bid backed

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Plans for 10 new homes in Clenchwarton which community leaders had branded as “unsafe” have been approved by councillors.

Members of the West Norfolk Council planning committee backed the scheme for land on Hall Road, Clenchwarton at a meeting on Monday, subject to the completion of legal agreements covering flood risk mitigation and affordable housing provision.

Ahead of the meeting, members of the Clenchwarton parish council argued that the proposed development was “unsafe” because of high flood risks.

In a statement submitted ahead of the meeting, local county councillor Alexandra Kemp said the previous approval of two new homes in the area had already caused flooding problems for some residents.

She said: “There is a very real and tangible risk that building 10 houses on the hill at the top of Hall Road will increase the risk of both groundwater flooding, surface water flooding and also extreme rainfall flooding to neighbouring properties downstream.”

And resident Jane Alflatt, whose home has been repeatedly affected by flooding problems, urged to committee to reject the application.

But applicant Barbara Smith said the land had been owned by her family for almost 60 years and insisted she would have been aware of any drainage issue if one existed.

She said storage tanks highlighted in the parish council’s comments had been associated with a former nursery which operated on the site until the late 1970s and had regularly run dry.

She also claimed Miss Kemp and local MP Sir Henry Bellingham had been “misinformed” about the site.

She added: “This application is fair and reasonable and I would not be here if it was not.”

Planning agent Ian Bix said he was sympathetic to Mrs Alflatt’s plight, but added: “This is nothing to do with this site.”

Committee members also raised concerns about wider drainage issues in the area after hearing that some nearby culverts were not being properly maintained by Norfolk County Council, even though it is required to do so.

Carol Bower said: “Before they build anything, that has got to be sorted out.”

But officials said they were confident flooding issues could be resolved through conditions applicants could not be held responsible for an existing issue.