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Close vote sees housing scheme refused in rural mid Norfolk village

PUBLISHED: 13:37 25 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:37 25 September 2017

The village sign at Foxley. Picture: Ian Burt

The village sign at Foxley. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

A proposal to build 18 homes in the village of Foxley was refused by the narrowest of margins by Breckland’s planning committee.

Layout of proposed homes in Foxley.  CAM Architects Layout of proposed homes in Foxley. CAM Architects

Six members voted in favour of the officer recommendation for refusal of the scheme, to five against, as the committee weighed up the need for new homes against the impact on the character of the village.

Applicant E Howell & Son wanted to build 18 homes on land off Old Fakenham Road, seven of which would be affordable.

The development would take up a corner field bordering the A1067 Norwich to Fakenham road with the site access off Old Fakenham Road.

Foxley Parish Council voted against the scheme and chairman Nicholas Mears told the committee that there was a lack of facilities in the village to support new homes, having just a church and a village hall.

Google map of site in Foxley which Breckland planners turned down for housing.  Image: Google Maps Google map of site in Foxley which Breckland planners turned down for housing. Image: Google Maps

“The development would increase the number of houses in the village by 17.7pc,” he said. “It would be out of character and would bring a small urban style development into the village.”

Bill Cunliffe, chairman of neighbouring Bawdeswell Parish Council, said it would have an effect on the limited and overstretched infrastructure of his village as well.

“The capacity of Bawdeswell Primary School is 84 but the current total is 103 children,” he said. “The Post Office is in the church and open three hours twice a week.”

Planners had also recently approved an application for 40 new homes in the village, despite their objection, he said.

But district councillor Gordon Bambridge said while there was a great deal of opposition from some parts of the community others felt there was a need for more housing in this location.

“It is walking distance from Bawdeswell and gives an affordable element of houses which are needed within the area,” he said.

“The site is already landscaped and although it is outside the development boundary it is adjacent to the boundary.”

Agent Anna Brockman said she felt the scheme would enhance the site and help the council achieve its five-year housing land supply.

“The main driver for the applicants is their desire to offer affordable housing in the area,” she said. “We have already received an expression of interest in the affordable homes from Victory Housing.”

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