Decision delayed on Emneth homes proposal

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A decision on plans for more than 100 new homes in Emneth has been delayed for a site visit later this week.

The move came after a Fenland councillor yesterday pleaded with West Norfolk Council’s planning committee not to “force” the development of land off Elm High Road onto Wisbech.

Officials had recommended the scheme be approved subject to the completion of legal agreements.

They said the plan was “difficult to resist” due to a High Court ruling in July, which concluded the authority did not have an adequate five year supply of housing land.

But Samantha Hoy, whose Octavia Hill ward borders the site told the committee: “Don’t let the fact you haven’t got a five year land supply let people build wherever they want.”

She described the plan as “piecemeal” and argued the proceeds of legal agreements should be spent in Cambridgeshire rather than in Norfolk.

She also claimed existing problems with the maintenance of drainage ditches in her ward would be made worse by the scheme.

However, Richard Brown, the applicant’s planning agent, said there were no technical reasons why the scheme should be rejected.

He said: “Much of Wisbech is within the flood plain. This site lies outside the flood plain and will be attractive to developers and families alike. It can deliver, immediately, 117 new family homes.”

But resident Michael Hodgskins said he feared his home would be “destroyed” if the plans, which allow for access from Hunters Row, were given the go-ahead.

He said the access was “dangerous, impractical and unworkable” and accused the developer of showing a “blatant disregard” for residents.

And Miss Hoy said accessing the Elm High Road was already a “nightmare.”

But Geoff Hall, West Norfolk Council’s director of planning, said they could not justify refusing the plans.

The site visit will take place on Thursday morning before the committee re-convenes in King’s Lynn to make a final decision.