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323 Wymondham homes rejected

PUBLISHED: 17:58 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:44 14 July 2010

Controversial proposals for 323 new homes at Wymondham were today roundly rejected because the application goes against local planning policy and would erode a countryside gap between the town and Hethersett.

Controversial proposals for 323 new homes at Wymondham were today roundly rejected because the application goes against local planning policy and would erode a countryside gap between the town and Hethersett.

Pelham Holdings was seeking outline consent to develop agricultural land to the north of Norwich Common, the scheme including proposals for a convenience store and public open space.

It had been tipped for approval by district planning officers - reversing their original recommendation - after Pelham Homes demonstrated that the scheme would help address a significant shortfall in the five year supply of deliverable housing land in the Norwich Policy Area.

The company also gave assurances that a legal agreement would be entered to give extra protection against future housing development to an additional 40 acres of agricultural land that serves as a buffer between Wymondham and Hethersett.

However, South Norfolk Council's planning committee voted 10-0 for refusal - despite concerns from the authority's development control manager Paul Whitham that the authority might be unsuccessful in defending the refusal if Pelham Holdings went to appeal.

Wymondham councillor Martin Wynne, who stood down as committee chairman for the application, said: “There is no guarantee of delivering the homes despite what they (Pelham) say. The application is detrimental to the landscape and will contribute to urban sprawl.”

He said the legal agreement seemed to be a “spurious ploy” to get a “premature” application approved, and called for a masterplan for Wymondham to get the best development for the town, not “ad hoc”.

But Pelham Holdings spokesman, Lee Newlyn, stressed the benefits the new estate would bring, including more than 100 affordable homes.

“There is plenty of background policy that supports the release of this land,” he told the committee.

“We are providing 114 affordable houses and we are doing you a major benefit - the precedent of 35 per cent (affordable housing) that you can apply to other housing development that comes forward in your area.”

Objectors to the scheme included Wymondham Nature Group, builder Hopkins Homes, the town council and local landowners and residents.

Neil Warren, director of Pelham Holdings, said after the meeting: “We are extremely disappointed by the committee's decision to go against officers' advice and refuse our application, after we worked hard to improve our plans following the deferral of a decision in September. We still believe that our plans represent a sustainable option for the future growth of Wymondham and will be carefully considering our options for pursuing the development of this site.”

The company will decide whether to lodge an appeal once it has seen the written reasons for the refusal.

Pelham Holdings is currently seeking consent to build up to 3,000 new homes to the south of Wymondham, and to develop a 'community care retirement village' at the town's existing rugby club ground as part of its relocation plans.

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