Local councillors have been left frustrated after it was revealed plans to turn a former mental health hospital into housing had not followed the authority's policies properly.

Planning officers have recommended a scheme to turn the now-defunct Milestones Hospital in Catfield into 21 houses.

However, at a recent meeting it was revealed that the correct procedures had not been followed.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The entrance to Milestones Hospital in CatfieldThe entrance to Milestones Hospital in Catfield (Image: Google)

Milestones Hospital was shut down in 2021 after health inspectors barred it from taking new patients due to a string of safety concerns.

The site should have been advertised to potential healthcare operators for 12 months before it was considered for other forms of redevelopment to ensure local facilities such as this are only lost if deemed to be unfeasible. 

But officers said it was only advertised over a three-month period.

Tim Harris, chairman of Catfield Parish Council, said: "The closure of the mental hospital is being sold on a false prospectus. It is frankly a joke to claim that it was adequately 
marketed in the middle of Covid for just three months when the policy is for at least a year."

Other concerns include the lack of affordable housing offered by the developer Lion Properties and the effect it could have on increased traffic in the village.

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Great Yarmouth Mercury: Councillors Kevin Bayes and Matthew Taylor, who represent Stalham and CatfieldCouncillors Kevin Bayes and Matthew Taylor, who represent Stalham and Catfield (Image: Newsquest)

Matthew Taylor, NNDC councillor for Stalham, has called for a proper advertisement to be carried out before a decision is made. 

"I want to ensure that policy and procedures are correctly followed - the 12-month advertising period is there for a reason," he said. 

This week, the scheme will go before the development committee for the second time, after a decision was deferred last month. 

It followed locals complaining that they had been snubbed by NNDC, who failed to respond to their concerns about the project for months.