Builder wants zero affordable homes in development – after promising 13

A plan has been submitted to South Norfolk District Council, requesting to remove the requirement that affordable homes be...

A plan has been submitted to South Norfolk District Council, requesting to remove the requirement that affordable homes be provided as part of a new development in Spooner Row, near Wymondham. - Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

A home builder has applied to remove the need to provide affordable housing on a Norfolk development – two years after being given permission to halve the original number.

J Alston and Sons gained outline planning permission for a twin development split across Chapel Road and Bunwell Road in Spooner Row, near Wymondham, in 2012.

The original plan promised 13 affordable homes, but a further application submitted in July 2018 asked for the number to be brought down to six, across a 30-home development.

Landowner James Alston claimed a "relentless rise" in costs had forced him to ask to halve the number, and South Norfolk District Council's planning committee voted to allow it, despite then-chair Vic Thompson describing it as a "regrettable decision".

Now, a fresh application has been submitted to SNDC, asking to remove the affordable housing altogether.

Public consultation is currently open, and has seen some people voice their objection to the plan.

Julian Halls, district councillor for South Wymondham who also sits on the Wymondham and Spooner Row councils, wrote to object to the proposal "in the strongest possible terms".

Dispute about a housing development on School Lane at Spooner Row. Concerned residents Julian Halls and Karen Dunn Hughes.

District councillor for South Wymondham Julian Halls has objected to the proposal 'in the strongest possible terms'. - Credit: Antony Kelly

He said: "The number of affordable homes has been reduced considerably once already and now the intention is to provide none at all.

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"What is the point of having a rule which says you have to provide a certain number, which [the planning committee] in view erroneously agreed to halve with some very questionable calculations based on land values massively inflated from farmland prices, to now provide none at all?"

Also commenting, Spooner Row resident Victoria Fox said: "I feel that it is important to keep the Section 106 affordable units within the village so that the young people of the village and others are able to live where they have grown up and have family."

Michelle Knights, who lives in Chapel Road, wrote in support of the application.

She said: "We feel, as a household which has lived in Spooner Row and had parents and grandparents who also lived in the village for many, many years, that affordable housing is not a requirement needed in the village."

Spooner Row Community Council will debate the application at a meeting set to take place tonight (Thursday, February 25) at 7.30pm.

The application will be dealt with by SNDC in due course.

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