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NNDC Reception (2)

Date published: 6th July 2017

A plan to build 200 homes at Sculthorpe has been turned down at appeal after developers went to the Planning Inspector to overturn a planning decision by North Norfolk District Council.

The NNDC Development Committee had originally rejected the plans in January 2016 and the developers, Amstel Group Corporation, had hoped to overturn that ruling by appealing the decision.

Within his Sculthorpe ruling, the Planning Inspector has confirmed the Council has a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites. That ruling should help to protect the whole district from future appeals.

Cllr Tom FitzPatrick, Leader of NNDC and local member for Sculthorpe, said: “We are absolutely delighted for the people in Sculthorpe who were so concerned about this plan.

“The inspector’s findings show the importance of planned and sustainable development that doesn’t swamp existing communities but conserves and builds on what is already there.

“This plan was never sustainable – the village has no shop, one restaurant and an infrequent bus service.

“The development would have doubled the size of the village and potentially at least doubled the traffic movements because of the nature of the family homes proposed.

“We are not averse to development, but it must be in the right place.”

Cllr Sue Arnold, Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “The inspector accepted that development would not protect the countryside, would harm heritage assets and the community, and would not be sustainable.

“And he has made it very clear that across the district NNDC has demonstrated 5 years supply of deliverable housing sites.

“This is an excellent result both for Sculthorpe and for the district as a whole.”

The plan was originally turned down by NNDC in January 2016 because it was against planning policy as the area was designated as an area of open countryside; too far from local services or facilities; that it had already made provision for residential development at nearby Fakenham in the published Local Plan; and that it would cause harm to heritage assets including the character and appearance of Sculthorpe Conservation Area.

The planning application by Amstel Group Corporation Ltd was for 71 homes, a new access road, side roads, drainage works, play areas, landscaping works in phase 1; with up to a further 129 homes, primary school, land for community resource centre and play area in phase 2.

After Amstel Group appealed the decision, a 6 day inquiry was held in late April and early May by the Planning Inspectorate at NNDC’s headquarters in Cromer and featured a site visit.

In his finding published here:

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150860

The inspector, appointed by the Secretary of State, dismissed the appeal for a range of reasons, including:

  • The Council can “convincingly demonstrate at least a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites”.
  • The Council has taken a “pragmatic, robust and convincing approach” to the assessment of its housing needs.
  • A number of “incidences of harm” to the Sculthorpe Conservation Area and three listed buildings “carry significant weight in the overall planning balance”.
  • The proposal would conflict with development plan policies intended to direct development to where it is needed, to protect the countryside and to safeguard the historic environment. The benefits of the proposal do not outweigh the harm it would cause.

Last updated: 6th July 2017