West Norfolk Council reject plans for 46 homes in centre of village
Revised plans for 46 homes in the centre of a West Norfolk village have been refused on the grounds of density, potential crime and being out of character with the area.
Two separate applications for houses on Manor Farm in Gayton raised objections from members of West Norfolk Council's planning committee and the parish council this morning.
Regarding the first application for 40 houses with an estate road access onto Back Street, vice-chair of Gayton Parish Council Sarah Renwick said the site was "not in keeping" with the surrounding area.
She said the site had been identified as a green space by residents and that any "irreversible damage" should be avoided by the council.
The vice-chair said there were 30 letters of objection from villagers with only one in support of the proposal.
Mrs Renwick said: "Manor Farm development will change the rural centre of the village more profoundly than was previously the case, possibly paving the way for future high density development to the north.
"Parish councillors believe the formative structure of these two applications suggest Gayton village is being groomed for fundamental character change."
The revised application had outline planning permission and officers had recommended it should be accepted by the committee.
Speaking in favour of the application, James Burton told the meeting developers had worked closely with officers to respond to areas of concern after the initial application was refused.
He added that 17 homes per hectare was an "efficient use" of residential land, and stated the scheme complies with local and national planning policy.
Estate manager Alistair Beales added that the density of just over 17 homes per hectare was lower than the recently approved 26 per hectare Freebridge scheme in the village, as well as the adjacent St Nicholas Close.
Mr Beales added: "Much thought and care was put into this application. The parish council was kept informed and it has welcomed changes as a result of their input. Planning officer advice was sought and followed throughout."
But councillor Michael de Whalley raised concerns regarding the loss of open space and said Gayton has had "more than its fair share of development of late". Mr de Whalley said comparing the density of homes in the application to other sites in the village was "cherry picking".
Councillor Charles Joyce said there was no reason not to have garages for the nine affordable homes, describing the application as not being tenure blind. The application states these affordable homes would have had sheds instead.
Mr Joyce also expressed concerns over farm sprays and chemicals causing health problems for residents as well as the potential for crime and disorder due to the proposed site not being fenced off.
Responding to the issue of farm sprays, councillor Martin Storey said he was not aware of any farmers being prosecuted over this issue, and stated some credence should be given to the farming community to use fertilizer in an appropriate manner.
The impact of traffic on Back Street, potential accidents at a pond as part of the development and issues over density were all raised during the meeting.
Councillor Colin Manning, who represents Gayton, said: "I think it's rather unfortunate this [application] has come back so quickly. If there had been a bit more time if it had been in the future, there may well have been more give and take on both sides to get a better resumption. I am not too happy at the moment."
The application for 40 houses was rejected by nine votes to six with one abstention. And the second application for six houses was also rejected by 10 votes to four with three abstentions.
Mr Beales said an appeal would be lodged and developers would be seeking costs in response to the first decision.