Village storage container site scheme decision deferred
A decision has been deferred on plans to site dozens of storage containers in a West Norfolk village.
Officials had advised approved of the plan for 38 containers on the Old Pheasantry site in East Walton, which was submitted by the Westacre Estate.
But members of West Norfolk Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to put their decision on hold during a meeting yesterday.
The move followed concerns from committee members who felt they needed to see the site for themselves before they made a final judgment.
Independent councillor Tom Ryves said it was “inappropriate” to proceed to a decision without a visit, even though current rules do not allow the committee to make such visits.
And ward member Colin Manning, who called in the application alongside fellow representative Michael de Whalley, said it was “incredible” that the application had been recommended for approval.
He endorsed the call for a site visit and was particularly scathing of county Highways officials, who the meeting was told had raised no objections to the scheme, despite widespread safety concerns among community leaders and residents.
He said he wasn’t surprised by their stance, adding: “I think they barely, at times, know where places like East Walton are.”
Meanwhile, Mr de Whalley said he was aware of one fatal and three other serious collisions on the nearby B1153 in the last four years.
He said the siting of the containers had caused a great deal of upset in the village as they were moved there within days of the application being submitted last summer.
The meeting was told that the containers were moved from land in West Acre, where a similar application was rejected in 2019.
Alec Birkbank, on behalf of the estate, apologised for not being on “the front foot” with the scheme, but claimed the current site was a “logical solution.”
He added; “‘I’m confident the benefits it provides for local businesses are worthwhile.”
But local resident John Thorpe said the site was not suitable for such a use and claimed that all but one of the supporters of the application lived outside the village.
He added: “Storage facilities are available in Swaffham and Narborough. These are industrial estates with suitable access.”