Councillors approve plans to build near mid Norfolk beauty spots
- Credit: Archant
Two controversial applications for developments near to mid Norfolk beauty spots have been granted planning permission.
Breckland councillors approved plans for a visitor centre and eight holiday lodges at Billingford Lakes, near Dereham, on Tuesday after planning officer Simon Wood said 'the benefits of the application outweigh the harm'.
The plans were submitted by the family of well-known entrepreneur Basil Todd who passed away in 2015. Permission was granted in April 2017 but local objectors challenged the decision in the High Court and the committee decision was quashed.
The objectors supplied new information from a visual impact assessment and an archaeology report to the committee and these documents were considered as part of a review of the proposal. For this reason, Mr Wood said councillors should consider it as a fresh application.
Mr Todd's daughter Bridgette Hall also asked councillors to 'consider this without past events clouding the issue' and called many of the objections 'unfounded'. She said the development would bring numerous benefits to the community and is supported by the majority of residents.
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But representatives from Swanton Morley Parish Council and Hoe Parish Council voiced objections and Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman wrote to Breckland Council to express his concerns. These included fears that development could result in permanent damage to local wildlife.
Approval was given after six councillors voted in favour, one voted against and one abstained.
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The second application to be approved was Taylor Wimpey's plan to build up to 62 properties near to Neatherd Moor in Dereham.
Despite receiving more than 430 letters of objection and one in support, approval was given after four councillors voted in favour and two against.
Discussions focused on the impact it could have on the nearby Shilling Lane, which already suffers from flooding issues after another Taylor Wimpey development was built nearby.
District councillor Alison Webb, who was against the application, said the historic road has become 'a swimming lane for dogs and a mud assault course for the community'.
Planning officer Debi Sherman said in her recommendation for approval that the development could make a 'significant contribution' towards the supply of housing.