Plan for 171 new Bradwell homes narrowly approved despite size fears

Construction work of 210 homes at Wheatcroft Farm, Bradwell is well underway.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The development is just one phase of a six-phase, 700-home neighbourhood at Wheatcroft Farm, which was granted permission in principle in 2014.   - Credit: Nick Butcher

Permission has been granted by a razor-thin margin for 171 houses to be built as part of a new neighbourhood in Bradwell, despite concerns over cramped living conditions. 

Members of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s (GYBC) development control committee voted by seven votes to six in favour of allowing the homes to be built on Wednesday evening.

The development is just one phase of a six-phase, 700-home neighbourhood at Wheatcroft Farm, which was granted permission in principle in 2014.  

Phases one to three have already been built, and phase four is nearing completion.

Councillors were on Wednesday (March 30) asked to give their approval for the finer details of the development’s fifth phase.

In a report prepared ahead of the meeting, planning officers at GYBC noted the "small size" of some of the houses, the "restricted" shape and size of gardens, and "car dominant" street scenes.

Of the 171 homes, 18 of which will be classed as affordable, they said 42 (25pc) were "under-sized" providing space that is "considerably lower" than is recommended by Nationally Described Space Standards (NDSS).

But on balance, officers recommended the scheme be approved, because earlier phases of the development had already been approved to similar standards, and the homes themselves already had permission in principle.

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Independent councillor Adrian Myers said: "I do think the council has a responsibility to ensure that any properties that are built... are of a sufficient standard to meet the needs of the people who want to occupy them."

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Independent councillor Adrian Myers - Credit: Archant

He later added: "Who is going to set the standards? Is it the builders... or the council? I believe it should be the council."

Labour councillor Bernard Williamson agreed: "We already build houses that are generally smaller than those on the continent... and this a backwards step, in my opinion."

Conservative Geoffrey Freeman said he also thought space was a concern, but acknowledged that not building the homes could threaten the borough's supply of housing.

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Conservative councillor Geoffrey Freeman - Credit: James Bass

He suggested the council "draw a line in the sand and say no, enough is enough" when the next phase of the neighbourhood - phase six - is brought before the committee, demanding that those homes meet the space guidelines.

Conservative committee chair Carl Annison said the authority was caught "between a rock and a hard place" and agreed with Mr Freeman, saying it would be difficult to defend turning phase five down.