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New vote on plans

PUBLISHED: 15:24 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 July 2010

Confusion over the way planners handled a controversial road and housing scheme for Winterton has forced officers to take the unusual step of bringing the matter back to committee.

Confusion over the way planners handled a controversial road and housing scheme for Winterton has forced officers to take the unusual step of bringing the matter back to committee.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council solicitor Chris Skinner insisted this week that although there had been confusion over the way committee members reached their decision to approve the nine-home development at Empson's Loke, it was not unlawful.

But Winterton parish council chairman David Neve said he was unhappy about the voting process which at first rejected the scheme by one vote and then, after further debate, approved it chiming with officer advice.

He claims the gear shift was prompted by worries about costly developer appeals, rendering pointless any grass roots opposition and undermining local democracy.

Mr Neve told planners at their meeting last Tuesday night that the village robustly objected to Badger Building's scheme for nine executive homes on a flood plain mainly because of changes to the Loke that were needed to access them, altering forever the scenic approach to the village.

But jubilation at the initial refusal soon turned to fury and disappointment with Mr Neve questioning the legality of the U-turn.

He said: “What it means is that when any parish council in the borough sees that an application has been recommended for acceptance by the planning department there is no point whatsoever in raising any objection. That vote should stand.”

Charles Reynolds chairman of the planning committee said: “I have checked with the solicitor and everything was done in order. But what I have agreed to do is to have it back again at the next meeting.

“We did not do anything wrong but I admit it got a little bit confused so the best thing to do is have a fresh look at it with all the relevant information.”

Mr Skinner added: “Nothing unlawful was done because the committee can take a vote as many times as it likes until the decision notice is issued. There was clearly some confusion.”

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