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Controversial plans for new homes in Norfolk village are approved

PUBLISHED: 13:20 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:39 17 May 2018

Knapton residents protesting earlier this month against 14 new homes. Picture: Knapton Parish Council

Knapton residents protesting earlier this month against 14 new homes. Picture: Knapton Parish Council

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Plans for 14 new affordable homes in the village of Knapton will go ahead, despite strong objections from local residents.

Millennium Field in Knapton. The field has been earmarked for 14 new homes. Picture: Stuart AndersonMillennium Field in Knapton. The field has been earmarked for 14 new homes. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Councillors on North Norfolk District Council’s development committee today (May 17) passed Victory Housing’s application for the development on the central Millennium Field by eight votes to four.

Allan Young, parish council chairman, labelled it a “very poor” decision.

He said after the meeting at the council’s Holt Road, Cromer, headquarters: “The councillors don’t seem to understand the problems of living in a small village with no amenities and no services where everybody has to do everything by car.

“We’re not nimbys and we are all in favour of houses, but we do want the right houses.”

The application was passed with the conditions that Victory uses more flint, rather than red brick, so the homes are more in keeping with the village, and that a boundary hedge and memorial trees planted in memory of loved ones about 20 years ago are kept on the site.

Although some councillors said they had concerns over the plans, others felt the need for more affordable housing took precedence.

Councillor Maggie Prior, who was among those who votes for the homes, said: “It’s a close-run thing but I think the imperative is housing and especially affordable housing.”

The plans are not in keeping with the council’s highways and affordable housing development guidelines, and although Norfolk Fire and Rescue has not objected, residents and some councillors said fire engines and ambulances would have trouble accessing the site. The Highways Authority did object to the plans, and there were 100 further objections sent to the council. A petition with more than 300 signatures was also gathered.

Nearby resident Michelle de Vries said she was “very disappointed” by the ruling.

She said: “It’s a stitch up. We want affordable homes in our village but this is a dangerous location and it’s completely unsuitable.”

The new homes are expected to bring around 56 new residents and 28 extra cars to Knapton.

Victory Housing was given permission to build eight homes at the site in 2014, but this did not go ahead. Last year, they applied to build 16 homes there, but later revised the scheme down by two.

Victory Housing’s response

John Archibald, chief executive of Victory, said he was delighted about the Knapton decision, but not about an application for 20 new homes in Southrepps, which the committee today refused.

He said: “We are pleased that our plans to build new affordable homes in Knapton have today received approval from North Norfolk District Council, although we are disappointed that our scheme at Southrepps did not receive planning consent. However, we recognise that the planning committee conducted a thorough and rigorous scrutiny of our proposals.

“Our priority remains to provide as many new affordable homes as we can in order to meet the considerable housing need in north Norfolk. The provision of affordable homes for local people to live in, especially in rural villages, is a key part of alleviating the housing crisis, and such provision has an overwhelmingly positive impact on those communities.

“We recognise that there will always be people who will be opposed to development, and it is right that their views are heard. Ultimately it is for the planning authority to balance all viewpoints, along with the housing need, before coming to their decision.”

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