West Norfolk Council rejects plans to build 250 new homes in Downham Market

Views from the footbridge over the A1122 Downham Market/Denver area view of part of the planning area looking over farmland, the road leads to the roundabout with the A10
Views from the footbridge over the A1122 Downham Market/Denver area view of part of the planning area looking over farmland, the road leads to the roundabout with the A10

Council chiefs have rejected plans to build 250 new homes in Downham after agreeing the scheme’s density is too high.

At a planning meeting on Monday, West Norfolk Council officials rejected a revised application to build on land off Nightingale Lane, in Downham.

Officials say the application has been revised to reduce the number of homes following concern over density and parking, but council chiefs agreed “250 dwellings is still too many”.

The application reads: “Originally the application was submitted for up to 300 dwellings including land to the north and outside the allocated site.

“The application has been revised to reduce the number of dwellings to up to 250 following concerns regarding density and parking.

“The proposed development of up to 250 residential units within a 13.66 hectare site includes open space with a strong green infrastructure network, and new linkages to the town, schools and the local footpath networks.

“The site would be served by a proposed four arm roundabout within the south-east quadrant of the site off the A1122.

“The main residential street would kink round to serve the west and also the north. The main street would cross Nighingale Lane.

“Secondary streets would be located off the main street with green lanes and private drives serving the outer edges of the built development to maintain the rural edge.”

However, council chiefs were quick to express their concerns over the application’s proposed housing density and positioning of the access roundabout off the A1122.

Geoffrey Wereham said: “The whole of Downham Market will inform you of their displeasure of that roundabout being insisted on.

“We really do need the crossing between Denver and London Road and this is an opportunity to deal with it.

“There is money allocated for it. If the roundabout was moved, the money could be spent where it should have been spent in the first place.

“I cannot accept this position that planning and county council insist on. It is wrong and it will remain wrong.”

The application says Highway Authority has no objections over estate road maintenance, detailed plan of roads, construction traffic management plan, wheel cleaning, or off site highways improvement works.

Mr Wereham added: “It may be acceptable for the planning officer, it may be acceptable for the county council, but it is not acceptable for Downham Market.

“The people who live in this town have to prance across that junction and it is not going to get any better with these 250 houses.”

“Some 90 per cent of the land down there is owned by the highways and incidently it was 100 per cent owned by the highways until it was sold off for someone’s back garden. They could return to that position if they so wished.”

The council’s previous reasons for refusal included a loss of allocated green open space and the extra pressure on the town’s infrastructure.