Victory for campaigners as bid for Tiffey Valley homes is finally shelved
Joyous campaigners are celebrating after their tireless work to see a controversial bid to build homes on land overlooking Wymondham Abbey refused was backed by government.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles refused the plans to build 70 homes on Chapel Lane today, after his department recovered the appeal in March.
The verdict comes two years after the bid was originally submitted to South Norfolk Council, who initially refused it in 2013.
But in June, the Fairfield Partnership lodged an appeal, prompting Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman to urge Mr Pickles to directly intervene.
Today, the Secretary of State upheld the decisions given by South Norfolk Council, saying that the development would cause a substantial impact on the landscape of the 900-year-old Wymondham Abbey and the Tiffey Valley.
Mr Freeman said: “This is a victory for localism and democracy in the planning system. For too long and all too often planning has come to seem like something done to communities instead of something done by communities.
“Wymondham is a jewel of a market town which is putting together a long term town plan based on a vibrant local economy and high quality of life, which this development would have under-mined. We need housing – but not at the cost of our green spaces.”
The plans caused outrage in Wymondham, and saw more than 300 people write to South Norfolk Council with their objections.
Terry Povey, a member of the Friends of the Tiffey Valley group, said: “This is a victory for democracy and the voice of the local people. George assumed the role of our leader in carrying forward the fight to save an intrinsic part of Wymondham heritage which is deeply loved by local people and is inextricably linked with the town.”
What do you think of the decision? See tomorrow’s paper for a full report. Contact reporter Lauren Cope on Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org with your views.