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Hundreds of new homes refused despite developer's threat of judicial review

PUBLISHED: 12:59 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:59 13 February 2020

Plans to build 150 new homes on the fringes of a Norfolk town have been turned down, after fears for the damaging urbanisation of a tranquil green area. Pictured, the area of the proposed development. Photo: Google Streetview

Plans to build 150 new homes on the fringes of a Norfolk town have been turned down, after fears for the damaging urbanisation of a tranquil green area. Pictured, the area of the proposed development. Photo: Google Streetview

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Plans to build 150 new homes on the fringes of a Norfolk town have been turned down over fears of urbanising a "tranquil green area" - despite the threat of a judicial review.

The scheme has been refused after concerns about the loss of a strategic gap between Wymondham and Hethersett. Photo: Liz ReynoldsThe scheme has been refused after concerns about the loss of a strategic gap between Wymondham and Hethersett. Photo: Liz Reynolds

Hethersett-based developer United Business and Leisure applied to South Norfolk Council to build 150 new homes in the area between Wymondham and neighbouring village of Hethersett.

But the scheme has been refused after concerns about the loss of a "strategic gap" between the two settlements and "harmful sprawl".

Council officers recommended the scheme be rejected due to the risk of "significant harm to the landscape" as well as the loss of a "significant section of hedgerow".

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Planning officer Chris Watts also told councillors the impact of the new housing "did not present overriding benefits" to the area.

The council's architect said the site presented a risk of "a harm of sprawl out into the landscape".

The eight-acre site would have included 40pc affordable housing and is located out of but adjacent to the development boundary.

But at a development committee meeting, on Wednesday, February 12, Lyndon Gill, on behalf of the developer, said the officer's report was "unbalanced and inaccurate".

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Mr Gill, from planning agents Barton Willmore, said: "There are several significant omissions and misleading statements."

He said the authority's housing supply calculations were incorrect and a "shortfall of 5,008 homes [existed] across the joint area".

And he added the council was short of 3,002 affordable homes which he called "scandalous in the context of the housing crisis".

Mr Gill added: "Should you follow officers' recommendation, my client has instructed me to inform you that they will pursue this matter through judicial review and challenge the council's housing supply."

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Conservative councillor Lisa Neal told the committee: "I have major concerns over the loss of hedgerow. I just think its a shame to lose any of our hedgerows."

And David Bills, Conservative member for Hethersett, added: "It's a strategic gap between Hethersett and Wymondham [and] it's getting closer and closer."

Liberal Democrat councillor Vivienne Clifford-Jackson asked officers to clarify the situation with the housing supply.

And planning officer Tracy Lincoln said: "The council has a 6.5 year housing supply and factors in under supply."

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of refusing the scheme.

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