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Village homes plan rejected by West Norfolk councillors due to 'lack of sufficient land'

West Norfolk councillors unanimously rejected outline plans for new housing near a village primary school and former public house after Highways objected to the application.

An indicative proposal for a housing site at the junction of School Road and Hope Lane in Marshland St James was put before a virtual planning committee meeting yesterday.

The application was recommended for refusal by officers, and objections had been raised by the parish council and Highways due to a lack of sufficient land.

West Norfolk Council leader Brian Long brought the application before the committee and said it would provide "much-needed" homes for the village.

Mr Long said: "The village has grown in size and popularity over the years since the arrival of a new village hall. Villages need infrastructure like the village hall, pavilion and tea rooms, but they also need population to keep these facilities viable."

The council leader also referred to an adjacent site being approved by the committee in February.

But Richard Smith, the county council's Highways officer said: "There is insufficient room and they [applicant] have not shown that they have demonstrated sufficient land to provide a robust and buildable scheme."

Councillor Charles Joyce said he supported the scheme in principle but could not get around the fact there was an objection from Highways.

The proposed scheme is located near to the former public house, The Marshland Arms, which is now private housing. The owner of the building had supported the application, the meeting heard.

The site is located outside the development boundary.

Councillor Terry Parish proposed to concur with officers' recommendations and refuse the application.

Mr Parish added: "There is overdevelopment due to a lack of five year land supply a few-years-ago and so developers jumped in."

The chairman of the planning committee, councillor Chris Crofts, told the meeting he used to live on Hope Lane and confirmed the road was narrow.

Mr Crofts told councillors there is no immediate access to facilities such as a health centre, village store and pub in the village, despite the applicants emphasising the proximity to the school.

Mr Crofts added: "I am not in favour of allowing this one to go through as the facilities are not there and you definitely need a car, and Highways has said it is difficult to do anything about the access to the school."

The committee unanimously rejected the application following Mr Parish's recommendation to refuse.

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