Planners support bid for 117 homes in Wisbech

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Plans to build 117 homes on the outskirts of Wisbech have been recommended for approval.

The Grosvenor Partnership is looking to build a mixture of one to five bedroom units on the 5.64 hectare greenfield site off the busy Elm High Road on the edge of town.

Members of West Norfolk’s planning committee have been recommended to approve the outline application when it comes before a meeting on Monday next week, despite widespread objection.

Fenland District Council says there is no “justifiable need for housing in this location” plus objections have been lodged by Emneth Parish Council, along with a host of letters from residents.

Earlier this year, a planning inspector found that West Norfolk Council could not demonstrate it had a five-year supply of housing land while making a decision on a development in Clenchwarton.

The council’s bid to overturn this at the High Court was defeated.

The report to the planning committee states: “In terms of the benefits, the provision of up to 117 dwellings would contribute to achieving the council’s five-year land supply, would provide 23 units of affordable housing, provides county contributions, could be assimilated into the setting given that it is adjacent to existing residential development without significant harm to the character and appearance of the countryside or neighbour amenity and is located in the lowest Flood Zone.

“Further, even though the site has been rejected via the site allocations process, it scored positively on location grounds and access to services and facilities.

“With regard to the harm, Elm High Road is notorious for queuing traffic and despite no objection being received from Norfolk County Council Highways, FDC and Cambridgeshire County Council raised objections . However, these objections have now been withdrawn and there is no longer a technical reason to object on highways grounds.

“Whilst the FDC in principle policy issue remains, in the absence of a five-year housing land supply, a site that can be developed now, that accords with the principles of sustainable development, is difficult to resist.

“On the basis of the above, it is considered that the harm caused by the development would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits and thus the application is recommended for approval with conditions and subject to the satisfactory completion of the S106 agreement to secure affordable housing.”

Emneth Parish Council has highlighted fears for the loss of Grade I agricultural land.

Council comments made in the report state: “Aside from the loss of amenity to residents, Hunters Rowe in its present form is totally inadequate to cope with the traffic generated by 117 dwellings.

“Demolition works are being carried out at the former horticultural campus of the College of West Anglia in Fenland at the junction of Ramnoth Road and Elm High Road.

“If, as expected, this brownfield site is developed for housing it will have a major impact on the New Common Bridge junction and Elm High Road. This should be taken into account in any traffic projections.”