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Trust's school access warning over West Lynn homes proposal

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An education group has warned that plans for dozens of new homes in West Lynn will increase the risks faced by children going to and from school there.

Developers claim their proposals for land off St Peters Road will help to address an affordable housing “crisis” in West Norfolk.

But a decision was deferred at a borough council planning committee meeting yesterday, amid claims that the current scheme had failed to “get the basics right”.

Safety fears for pupils going to and from the West Lynn Primary Academy have been raised over plans for dozens of new homes nearby.
Safety fears for pupils going to and from the West Lynn Primary Academy have been raised over plans for dozens of new homes nearby.

A total of 38 properties, which the applicant, the Minster Property Group, says would all be classed as affordable, are proposed for the site.

Jake Stentiford, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the borough had the most significant shortfall of affordable housing of any district the group had worked in.

He said: “A huge deficit is building up and it does represent a crisis of affordable housing in the borough.”

He also pointed out that issues relating to transport and access had been considered under a previously granted outline approval.

That came after Steven Bowdery, facilities manager of the West Norfolk Academies Trust which sponsors the village’s primary academy, spoke against the plans.

He said the area around the school is already very busy at peak times, raising what he described as a “significant safety concern”.

Although a drop-off area has been proposed as part of the current proposal, he questioned whether that would solely be for school use or not.

He added: “If it is for general use, then there would be an additional safety concern.

“Given the risk to students, we must object to the current proposal.”

But committee members were unhappy at aspects of the proposed design of the development, including the perceived risk of overshadowing to neighbouring homes, the intention for bins from several homes to be sited outside a single property for collection, plus a lack of turning space for emergency vehicles.

Former council leader Brian Long said: “Most of what we’re being presented with here ticks the boxes. Why can’t we get the basics right?”

Members voted to defer the scheme, following a suggestion from assistant planning director Stuart Ashworth, so that the issues could be addressed.

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