'Beggars belief' – Councillors slam proposal to axe affordable homes

Spooner Row Community Council meeting on Thursday, February 25.

Members of Spooner Row Community Council voted unanimously to recommend to South Norfolk District Council planners that a proposal to remove all affordable housing from a new development in the village be rejected. - Credit: Spooner Row Community Council

Parish councillors in a Norfolk village have voiced their objection to a proposal to remove all affordable homes from a development of 30 new houses.

Developer J Alston and Sons has applied to remove the need to provide affordable housing on a twin development split across Chapel Road and Bunwell Road in Spooner Row, near Wymondham.

It comes after a successful application to cut the original number promised from 13 to six, which was reluctantly approved in January 2019.

The latest bid was discussed by Spooner Row Community Council at a meeting held over Zoom on Thursday, February 25, where the five councillors present voted unanimously to recommend the proposal be refused by South Norfolk District Council (SNDC) planners.

Martyn Lemon, who led that section of the meeting, said: "I'm absolutely climbing the wall because I think it's ridiculous.

"Beggars belief how people can go to planners and promise one thing, then halfway through change it because it doesn't suit them at the time, and then have the gall to ask us to change it yet again."

Fellow councillor Robert Foster added: "I didn't agree with the earlier relaxation in light of the fact social housing was split away from the main site, which is in itself contrary to standard policy, and the fact the developer is coming back now pleading poverty. My position is I'm completely against it."

Stephen Ward said he agreed the council should recommend refusal, adding: "I think it's not as straightforward as whether we agree or disagree with the developer in reducing affordable housing – he's promised to [provide the homes], so they should make him deliver on it.

"I think there are two other elements the council needs to consider. The first is my general feeling from the population is we don't want any development.

Most Read

"My second point is, if he is made to build [the affordable housing], the way it could be more affordable is not to split them, which should never have happened in the first place. I think we need to put that in any letter we send."

Sue Hewitson and Julian Halls also said they were against the proposal.

The developer was contacted for comment.

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

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter