Affordable housing plans approved despite erosion fears
- Credit: Archant
Plans for affordable homes to be built in a coastal village have been approved, despite flooding and coastal erosion fears.
Luke Warren, who runs London-based Warren Property Group, submitted plans for 16 social housing units on land off Ostend Road, Walcott, with the two market value homes included to make the scheme viable.
On Thursday, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) officer, Tracey Meachen, said the scheme was not entirely policy-compliant, in part because plans included more than 10 dwellings outside of a “defined settlement” and does not offer enough adaptable and accessible homes.
To meet the requirements, the number of affordable homes would have to be cut significantly, Ms Meachen said, adding: “This would not be helpful in addressing the acute need for affordable housing by people in the Walcott area.”
The council received 18 representations and letters of objection to the plans raising various concerns.
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Objections included: "Having a new road behind existing properties would give access for criminals, making people feel more vulnerable", and "the field suffers from flooding and is therefore unsuitable for housing development".
Angie Fitch-Tillett said she had spoken to experts about the flooding risks and her fears had been eased.
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She said: “As soon as I heard Walcott my heart sank and I contact my coastal team but they are relatively relaxed, and as you can see from the report it is just a small section of the ground that is actually in the flood area.”
The developer also submitted information that shows there is a network of underground pipes that will drain into the sea, Ms Meachen said.
As part of the s106 agreement the properties up for letting will go to those with the strongest local connection first, either through residence, employment or family.
This was welcomed by ward councillor, Clive Stockton, who said: “I know this site has got various problems in terms of fulfilling all the planning requirements to the letter, but I do believe the pressure to provide housing for local people overrides that in this case.”
The application was approved unanimously, with councillor Andrew Brown describing the number of affordable properties as “refreshing”.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Warren said it was good news for the community.
"It's helping to address a shortfall of social housing in north Norfolk.
"It's a template for exceptional housing schemes where we look for the majority of housing to be affordable."
Mr Warren said it was a move away from the traditional model, with lower returns but more high-quality social housing.