Inspector grants housing proposal in Weeting

An appeal against refusal of new homes and allotments near an area close to land protected for nesting stone curlew has been upheld.

The proposal for 35 houses, 24 allotments, community woodland and public open space will now go ahead, subject to conditions, on land to the north of Cromwell Road in Weeting, near Brandon, following a decision by the Planning Inspectorate after a three-day public inquiry.

A report by the planning inspector said that after studying the evidence he found the development would not contribute to noise or lighting pollution, and would not have an adverse effect on the birds.

“Although not completely screened from the SPA [special protection area] by continuous existing development, the site is surrounded by housing on two sides and by farm buildings on a third and so constitutes an infill site rather than an extension into the countryside,” he said.

Breckland Council refused the application in February this year amid concerns it would adversely effect stone curlew and would effect the character and appearance of Cromwell Road, the sustainability of the pattern of development in the district and housing supply.

The council has now been ordered to pay costs to the applicant, Childerhouse Lodge Farms.

Robert Childerhouse, of Childerhouse Farms, said work was due to begin in spring next year and take two years to complete.

Most Read

“It was a very long and stressful experience that took more than 12 months from starting the application process to getting the inspector’s decision and thank goodness common sense prevailed,” he said.

“Weeting is a village which is full of bungalows and we don’t have many family homes and people tend to buy a bungalow to try to extend it to create a four-bedroom family home, but when we’ve had applications refused it puts people off living here.

“Now, hopefully, people will start to look at those opportunities and we will keep young people in the village.”

The proposed housing development would include 14 social houses, which Mr Childerhouse would like to see go to people already on the housing waiting list or with a family connection to Weeting, a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom houses and two disabled bungalows.

Allotment land would be leased to the parish council for a peppercorn rent over a 99-year period.

A Breckland Council spokesman said: “We are currently considering the inspector’s decision and in particular how the council assesses the environmental effects of development proposals in these parts of the Brecks which are home to the protected stone curlew.

“What is important is the inspector has made clear that his decision relates to this particular site at Weeting and the very local factors.

“The inspector did not find the council to have acted unreasonably on its approach to protecting the environment and the general policy in Breckland of having to carefully consider development within 1,500 metres of land protected for stone curlews remains in place and is unaffected by this appeal decision.”