Harleston housing development appear to be on the rocks as principal planning officer outlines concerns
Plans to build 110 new homes on a contentious site have been dealt a significant blow by a senior council officer, to the delight of residents who have spent months campaigning against them.
Chris Watts, South Norfolk Council’s principle planning officer, sent an email to the agent of the developer earlier this month, highlighting the hurdles facing the proposed development just south of Redenhall Road in Harleston.
Michael Poynter (pictured), who lives close to the proposed site, had already registered his objection on the application and described his cautious optimism after reading the email.
“So far, so good. This is positive news as far as it goes,” he said. “But then, developers often resort to other ways to achieve their aims, such as appealing the decision or submitting a reduced or revised plan. So now, we just have to wait and see what the applicant does next.”
The email from Mr Watts was written after crunch talks were held between himself and the developer’s agent and read: “Given the nature of this proposal, as the council is able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, it is considered that the scheme is not capable of demonstrating overriding benefits.
“Taking account of the above, it is considered that the benefits which you have highlighted and material considerations are not of sufficient weight to warrant granting planning permission for the new residential development outside of the defined development boundary, particularly when having regard to the potential harm to the character and appearance of the area, given its elevated position and location.
“Notwithstanding the above, I would consider that the current development proposals are premature until such time as the scale and distribution of future growth has been determined and would advocate that you reconsider this position.”
Undeterred by Mr Watts’ appraisal of the application, Martin Last, of Last and Tricker Partnership, an architectural design agency, sent a reply, reiterating his view that residents’ concerns were “unfounded” and described the reasons given for the site being deemed unsuitable as “quite simply not true”.
A meeting has not yet been scheduled to make a final decision on the proposals.