“Farcical”, “preposterous”, “a can of worms” - angry exchanges in Breckland council chamber over Mattishall housing scheme
PUBLISHED: 08:16 13 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:48 13 June 2017
“Sack Capita” was the call from a furious district councillor today, outraged that Breckland’s planning officers had recommended a controversial 50-home application in Mattishall for approval.
Paul Claussen called for Capita, the company Breckland uses to manage its building control process, to have its contract terminated after its officer said the scheme by Gladman Developments on Dereham Road in the village would offer “significant benefits”.
This was despite a previous scheme for 90 homes being refused and dismissed at appeal, in part due to implications of flooding and also due to failure to prove itself a sustainable development.
Mr Claussen echoed concerns from parish representatives and residents, who packed out the council chamber, and called the application “a can of worms”.
He said: “This is a farcical situation. Now we have a five year housing land supply and officers recommend approval, when it should be considered in light of the policies that apply. It is not wanted by Mattishall, the district and county councillors, nor the MP.
“I believe Capita has cost reputational damage to us as a council and the council should seriously look at terminating its contract.”
Fellow district councillor Pablo Dimoglou also criticised the planning officers saying it was “preposterous” that the scheme should be considered successful.
The committee were informed by John MacKenzie from Gladman that their new scheme addressed all the previous concerns about flooding with an attenuation basin and perimeter drains.
“There are real social and economic benefits,” he said. “Forty percent of the homes will be affordable which will enable parts of the community that have been priced out to stay in their settlement.”
But parish councillor John Rockliffe said: “This is outside the settlement boundary and should be a straightforward refusal.”
Campaign group Mattishall Matters chairman Anna Loake and tenant farmer of the land John Gogle gave evidence of the frequency the field floods in real terms.
County councillor Bill Borrett suggested the planning committee should defer a decision for a site visit in view of how “important and controversial” it could turn out to be for Mattishall. Members voted in favour of deferral.