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Clenchwarton housing appeal dismissed by inspector

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Contentious plans for dozens of new homes in a West Norfolk village have been rejected following a public inquiry.

Community leaders in Clenchwarton have hailed a “victory” for the village after an appeal against the rejection of proposals for part of the old Fosters Sports Ground was dismissed.

The decision, which was announced on Monday, came just days after a public inquiry on the scheme was held at Lynnsport in Lynn.

Former Fosters S&SC site at Clenchwarton. (28948530)
Former Fosters S&SC site at Clenchwarton. (28948530)

During the hearing, lawyers acting for the developer, Elm Park Holdings, argued that the scheme should be seen as an extension of an earlier proposal which was itself granted planning permission on appeal five years ago.

They also pointed out that Clenchwarton was seen as a “sustainable settlement” for new housing, given its designation as a key rural service centre in West Norfolk Council’s plan for future development.

But, in his ruling, planning inspector John Morrison said the primary reasons for rejecting the appeal was because the site is in an area deemed to be in greatest danger of flooding.

He wrote: “I find that the proposed development would be at an unacceptable risk of flooding.

“[Planning] policies seek to ensure that development is directed away from areas at the highest risk of flooding and steered towards areas at lowest risk.

“It should ultimately be sustainable and directed towards the right places, ensuring that it is appropriate to the risks and zones identified.”

Mr Johnson acknowledged that his decision was contrary to that given for the southern part of the site, which was later upheld by a High Court judge, despite a challenge by the borough council.

But he said the circumstances now were “very different”, given that the council was then deemed not to have an adequate supply of housing land.

The report said the authority currently has more than eight years’ land supply and its assessment was not challenged by the developer.

Clenchwarton parish council chairman Steve Bearshaw said: “It’s a win for the village. We’re delighted. I hope a further appeal will not be an option.”

Alexandra Kemp, the village’s Norfolk County Council representative, added: “What a victory. I am so relieved for all the residents whose homes would have been put at risk.”

A borough council spokesman said: “The Planning Inspector has agreed with the council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the development of this site, which was considered to be in clear conflict with the Local Plan and national planning policy guidance.”

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