Controversial Gorleston homes plan gets green light

A CONTROVERSIAL scheme to build more than 100 homes in the heart of Gorleston took a significant step forward this week after being described as “a bad plan” by residents.

At a Great Yarmouth Borough meeting packed to the rafters with members of the public, outline planning permission was given to a plan that would see up to 110 houses erected on the site of the former Claydon High School.

The vote by councillors, with six approving and one objecting, followed officer recommendations.

It also came in the face of 370 separate objections from neighbours and accusations that the scheme was a “cash cow” for applicants Norfolk County Council, and would cause problems with transport and services in the area.

During Tuesday’s meeting, councillor Bernard Williamson was applauded as he highlighted Beccles Road and Burgh Road, which adjoin the site, as some areas of particular concern in terms of safety and new traffic being generated.

He also commented on his fears over the one and a half parking spaces per unit option.

Mr Williamson said: “We’ve seen what’s happened in other parts of the town such as the Magdalen Estate, and I think it should be minimum of two spaces.”

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“There’s also a real problem with high school and nursery provision – I’ve never known Norfolk County Council figures to be correct.”

Claydon High School closed in 1990, but its buildings were eventually pulled down in 2001.

Councillors heard that although many did not disapprove of homes on the site in principle, there was a feeling there had been no real improvements made on the application last deferred in 2007, as well as a lack of public consultation.

Though details have yet to be agreed on, the scheme would retain some of the open land currently there, and councillors pushed for a condition which means a maximum of two storey developments.

Senior planning officer Dean Minns said “If we can’t build on this site there’s not many we can build on in the borough,” a statement backed by chairman of the development control committee, councillor Charles Reynolds.

He said the scheme, which had overall approval from all the statutory bodies consulted, was a sustainable one.

Highlighting the fact there could have been as many as 212 homes proposed for the site, a prospect he described as “beyond belief”, he added: “we’ve nothing at all to turn this application down on – we wouldn’t stand a hope in an appeal.”

However, one of the residents who attended the meeting was Carl Green, who has lived in the area for more than a decade. He told councillors: “I would like to say on behalf of all of the residents we’re not objecting to the site being developed.

“We’re objecting because it’s a bad plan and consultation process, and this application process falls short for a proposed development of this size.”