Controversial 665-home Caister scheme approved

Persimmon Homes has trimmed its application at Caister from 725 to 665 homes. A formal planning appl

Persimmon Homes has trimmed its application at Caister from 725 to 665 homes. A formal planning application has now been submitted Picture: Persimmon Homes - Credit: Archant

A controversial plan for up to 665 new homes to be built at West Caister has secured planning permission, amid concerns over road safety and strains on local services.  

The approval was given in a hotly-anticipated vote at Great Yarmouth Town Hall on Wednesday (July 6) evening.

Some 45 concerned residents attended the borough council planning committee meeting, while hundreds more watched live on YouTube. 

The land on which the scheme was proposed, which lies west of Jack Chase Way - had been allocated for development under the borough’s local plan, so councillors were recommended to vote in favour of it.

Conservative councillor Paul Hammond said the village - whose population is set to be significantly boosted by the new homes - would be left “screaming for a new bypass” as a result of the increased traffic.

Others said a pedestrian overpass or underpass, linking the new development with the rest of the village, was needed to prevent deaths or serious accidents on the A149.

A representative of Persimmon Homes said the developer had worked closely with Norfolk County Council to create the “safest and most robust option in highway terms”.

And a council officer claimed that underpasses or overpasses tended to in fact encourage more car use, as people are discouraged by stairs or the “threatening” nature of some underpasses.

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The development is proposed to bring with it a new Caister to Norwich bus service, but local Conservative borough councillor Penny Carpenter pointed out that this would only be funded for a period of five years. 

Penny Carpenter, head of Great Yarmouth's Environment Committee. Pic: Norfolk Conservatves.

Conservative councillor Penny Carpenter - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

An officer responded that the service “should be self-sufficient and self-sustaining” by that time. 

Land will be set aside for a school and health centre, but concerns were raised that those facilities would not arrive until most of the housing had already been built, placing a strain on existing infrastructure.

The council’s Labour opposition leader, Trevor Wainwright, argued that the borough was in need of new homes in order to ensure young people could continue to live in the local area, rather than being priced out. 

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Labour councillor Trevor Wainwright - Credit: Archant

“We want our youngsters to stay in the borough. That’s what we want… If we keep turning down these big developments, none of that will happen,” he said. 

The committee eventually voted eight votes in favour of the development to four against. 

Now that permission for the development has been granted in principle, approval for the details of each phase of the development will also have to be sought.