Councillor walks out of meeting in protest over 'massive' homes debate

The former Edward Worlledge school on Lichfield Road in Great Yarmouth.

The former Edward Worlledge school on Lichfield Road in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Google Maps

Plans for a string of "intimidating" homes on a former school site have been given the go-ahead, despite a raft of concerns.

Committee members making the final decision went against the officer recommendation to refuse three-storey homes described as "massive in scale" prompting two councillors to leave the meeting in protest.

It means a total of 14 homes can be built on the former Edward Worlledge school site in Lichfield Road, Southtown, Great Yarmouth.

Councillors looked at two bids for nine and five homes. The application for nine homes came from Hammond Properties whose owners and directors are Tory councillors Paul and Donna Hammond and their son Lee.

The other homes' bid was from Warrens Anglia. 

Tony Wright, councillor for the Nelson Ward, said that 'takeaway culture' is a problem when it comes

Veteran Labour councillor Tony Wright walked out of a planning meeting on Wednesday December 8 over how a housing bid was handled. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2013

Several members declared an interest as they knew Mr Hammond.

At Wednesday's meeting of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's development control committee planning officer Chris Green said there were numerous ways the nine-home scheme "could do better".

He cited the impact on neighbours with the proposed new homes "confronting" the street and being "more intrusive" than similar new homes nearby.

A viability appraisal based on 14 homes concluded that an affordable element could not be delivered.

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Ward councillor Paula Waters-Bunn spoke strongly against the scheme which she said was "intimidating" to residents who felt "frustrated" and "disregarded."

There were also issues to do with loss of light, parking, noise, and overlooking of vulnerable children at the school resource base, she said.

Bruce Hart, of the Paul Robinson Partnership, speaking for the bid, said it was a brownfield site that could deliver much-needed housing.

He said the three storeys were necessary in a flood risk zone, and provided a "natural step down" from nearby college buildings.

Left as it was the land would be derelict and attract vandalism, he added.

A move to approve both plans was proposed by Emma Flaxman-Taylor and seconded by Graham Carpenter on the grounds it was effective use of land on a brownfield site.

Labour's Tony Wright said he had concerns about three-storey homes in a two-storey area and supported the officer recommendation.

After the meeting he said it was the first time he, and his wife Barbara, had walked out in 40 years.

The plans were carried six votes to three, with three councillors unable to vote because they were not at the site meeting.