People power wins as 150-home plan turned down

Highfield Equestrian Centre, Hemsby

The site is currently horse grazing lands, with many villagers concerned their horse will "lose its home" - Credit: Google

Councillors have heard the cry of desperate villagers who launched a petition against an 150-strong homes bid near the coast.

Participants of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's development control committee voted unanimously to refuse planning permission for a housing development at Hemsby.

The applicants - GVD Strategic Land Promotion - had promised 50pc of the new homes at the Highfield Equestrian site, currently comprising fields and a riding track, would be affordable.

The proposed development by GVD Strategic Land Promotion at Highfield Equestrian Centre, Hemsby. Pho

The proposed development by GVD Strategic Land Promotion at Highfield Equestrian Centre, Hemsby - Credit: Archant

But senior planning officer Gordon Sutherland said this had "little weight" given no viability assessment had been supplied to the council ahead of the meeting.

Introducing the proposal, he said: "The site in question is outside the development boundary of Hemsby, so residential development should only be permitted in exceptional circumstances.

"Alongside the 192 homes being developed at the nearby Pontins site, the council can already demonstrate a 6.1 year housing supply in the borough.

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"This development is not necessary."

He read out the main concerns highlighted in 33 objection letters, with five more added since the deadline.

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These were flooding, the sacrifice of grade one agricultural land, heavy traffic at the site's proposed access route on Yarmouth Road, the fact that services were already at capacity and fears the "rural character of Hemsby" would be spoiled.

Peter Atkin, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said it was a "high quality scheme" which is "sustainable and accessible".

GYBC meeting

Meeting of Great Yarmouth Borough Councillors at the development control committee meeting on February 3rd - Credit: GYBC

He countered that the council had met its five-year housing supply, suggesting that delayed projects and missed targets meant only a 4.5 year housing supply was in place.

He added: "We haven't provided an affordable housing viability report because this application was somewhat rushed to committee and we were only given two days to prepare evidence.

"But the landowner and developer have assured the council of their commitments to 50pc affordable homes, and we already have two housing associations ready to move in if this is approved."

Hannah Gray, speaking on behalf of Hemsby Village Plan Neighbourhood Steering Group, said the council should pay attention to the "strength of opinion" shown by the 605 locals who had signed the petition in support.

Meanwhile Keith Kyriacou, chair of Hemsby Parish Council, said: "Why turn our village into a concrete jungle?

Hemsby parish council chairman Keith Kyriacou said he was furious with the plans to add a further 15

Hemsby parish council chairman Keith Kyriacou said he at the meeting he wanted his village to remain a village - Credit: Nick Butcher

Councillor Paul Hammond added: "The amount of flooding on Beach Road every time we have heavy rain means it would be madness to approve this."

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