‘Too large and in the wrong place’ - Planning appeal over 50 new homes in Norfolk village gets underway

Residents of Mattishall protest against the 90 new housed proposed to be built on the edge of the vi

Residents of Mattishall protest against the 90 new housed proposed to be built on the edge of the village. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Campaigners fighting plans for 50 homes in their village told a government planning inspector that allowing them to be built would be a 'slap in the face for local democracy'.

The inspector, Gareth Jones, was in Mattishall to hear an appeal brought by Gladman Developments against refusal of their scheme on the edge of the village by Breckland Council.

He identified that the main issues were whether the proposal would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area, and whether any harm was outweighed by the fact that Breckland was unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.

The land in question is off Dereham Road at the western end of the village and a number of objectors attending the hearing argued that the field provided an important vista across open countryside.

John Rockliff, on behalf of Mattishall parish council, said: 'It is the first thing you see as you drive in from Dereham and however they try to disguise it there will be a new development. It is too large and in the wrong place.'

Mattishall's newly adopted Neighbourhood Plan was also heavily referred to and the inspector was urged to give it a lot of weight in his assessment.

Anna Loake, of campaign group Mattishall Matters, said of the 1,000 people who responded to their Neighbourhood Plan questionnaires about future development of the village, 79pc felt new schemes should be no more than 24 dwellings.

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'Don't underestimate the strength of feeling against this development,' she warned. 'If you uphold the appeal it would be a slap in the face of local democracy.'

The hearing was told by farmer John Gogle and resident Professor Robert Eady that there were significant flooding issues with the site which also caused sewage to back up in existing homes on Dereham Road in heavy rain.

Richard Stephenson, who worked on the Neighbourhood Plan, said the village had a target of 141 homes to be built by 2036. 'There are already 99 completions or commitments to build in Mattishall,' he said. 'We are well supplied with housing.'

A planning director and landscape architect from Gladman are set to give their responses during the afternoon and the inspector will pay a site visit tomorrow.

A decision will not be known for several weeks.

* Two previous applications on the site for 90 and 65 homes have also been refused by Breckland with the 90 dismissed at appeal by another inspector.