'We feel let down' - council blasts 665 homes planning process

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Caister Parish councillor Brenda Davis with residents Thomas and Priscilla Sear at the public community meeting about the Persimmon Homes scheme - Credit: Anthony Carroll

A parish council representing a community facing the construction of 665 homes on its doorstep says it and residents feel let down by the planning process.

Caister Parish Council has issued a strongly worded statement concerning the approval of the Magnolia Gardens estate by Great Yarmouth Borough Council earlier this month.

The 665-homes bid by Persimmon Homes for land off Jack Chase Way at West Caister had met stiff opposition due to concerns over increased traffic through Caister, the impact on local services and damage to the environment with the loss of hedgerows and trees.

665 homes are planned for off Jack Chase Way

665 homes are planned for off Jack Chase Way - Credit: Liz Coates

A statement issued by the parish council following a special meeting about the planning process said: "Although we would have liked to have stopped the whole development in its entirety, we realised early on that we were already at a point where the build was inevitable, and that the best we could achieve would be to influence the development to realise small changes which would lessen the impact of the build on our village.

"During the whole process, which began some years ago, there was very little representation from any department at either the county or borough level.

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Council chairman Tony Baker and vice chairman Kevin Wood - Credit: Anthony Carroll

"As a village we felt ignored. The village united in condemnation of the proposed highways infrastructure, the planned destruction of local environmental habitats and shortage of facilities both at the proposed new build and Caister, including shortage of doctors, dentists and parking."

The statement goes on to say that residents felt let down by the whole process, including the way the council's planning committee had unfolded.

It concludes: "In summing up we feel that the village and its parish council have been completely ignored and overlooked by every section of government, developers and planners who are forcing onto the residents of the village an ill thought-out and badly planned monstrosity of a neighbour, whilst at the same time taking away the bypass which has helped to alleviate traffic problems in the village for 40 years."

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One of the display boards in Caister Council Hall - Credit: Anthony Carroll

It was said the homes will help meet the borough council''s housing targets by 2030 and would lead to £21m being pumped into the local economy a year.

Persimmon Homes said it had engaged extensively with local stakeholders – including the parish council - and tried to balance feedback received alongside requirements set out by local authorities. 

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Great Yarmouth Borough Council had carried out its planning process based on usual procedures, which had involved the submissions of residents' views. The county council had fed its views on highways issues into the planning process.

Objections to the scheme

In its statement Caister Parish Council set out its main objections to the 665 homes bid. Here are some of the main points.

Main traffic routes from the northern villages to Great Yarmouth would funnel into Caister causing backlogs of traffic along all the routes in and out of the village.

The downgrading of Jack Chase Way, currently graded a bypass, would exacerbate the current situation and result in a daily traffic jam.

There are also fears for school children crossing Jack Chase Way.

Forty year old hedgerows and mature trees will be uprooted, interfering with the habitats of many species of wildlife and fauna.

The development will have removed a fairly large swathe of high-grade arable farmland from the local area.

The lack of facilities in the new development capable of serving the new residents and the overpopulation of Caister also featured high on residents' concerns.