Opponents of a 22-home plan in Dickleburgh have claimed the safety of local residents is being put at risk, after the development application was narrowly given the go-ahead this week.
South Norfolk Council’s development management committee decided on Wednesday to give conditional approval to the proposed development in Harvey Lane, with six committee members voting in favour of approval and five voting against.
The committee had previously deferred the application in December, to allow time to explore highways options and an alternative footpath along the road.
Planning officer Chris Watts said the revised application offered “satisfactory alternative highways arrangements”.
But the opposition to the plan – including residents, local parish, district and county councillors, and South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon – argue developer Hopkins Homes had still failed to address pedestrian safety issues in Harvey Lane, a narrow road largely without pavement, which also contains Dickleburgh Primary School.
Alexandra Blanshard, of Limmer Avenue, near Harvey Lane, presented a petition she set up, with 117 signatures, when she spoke on behalf of residents on Wednesday.
Following the decision, Miss Blanshard, who has three children aged six and under at the primary school, told the Diss Express: “I am utterly disgusted and disappointed with South Norfolk Council.
“I am staggered any council can put housing quotas above children’s safety, and approve such a dangerous and ridiculous road plan.
“With increased traffic, there is an increased risk of a collision. It’s really scary.
“South Norfolk Council made a huge mistake when it allocated the land for development, and now it has made another huge mistake. In years to come, it will have to stand by those mistakes.”
In his recommendation of approval to the committee, planning officer Mr Watts concluded the application was considered to have met the requirements in South Norfolk’s local plan policy.
“It is considered that the proposals, as amended, result in a scheme that delivers a high-quality design and layout, which is well considered for its rural edge location,” he said.
Infrastructure provisions agreed as part of the application’s conditions for approval include widening certain existing paths, and a white line painted on unpaved sections of Harvey Lane to serve as a ‘pedestrian refuge’ area.
But critics say these measures do not go far enough due to dangers caused by the blind bend, speeding traffic and wide HGVs, and have called for a full pavement to be built.
Terence Blacker, chairman of Dickleburgh and Rushall Parish Council, said: “We hoped that the safety of residents would come first and we are still very concerned it’s being put at risk.
“We will continue to campaign for a safe pavement on the south side.
“For me, it’s common sense and basic health and safety.”
Clayton Hudson, the South Norfolk councillor representing Dickleburgh for this application, said he was “obviously disappointed” with the decision, but he felt statements from the developer showed there was still “a glimmer of hope” that an arrangement for a new pavement could be negotiated in the future.
“Because of what has been said after the meeting, there is this window of opportunity to make this happen,” he said.
“I would appeal to the people who own the land on that side of Harvey Lane to use this opportunity for the good of the people of Dickleburgh, and see whether we can do the right thing by them.”