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Controversial housing application could go before Court of Appeal

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:19 17 May 2018

Throughout Sculthorpe signs of protest against the housing plans are evident. Picture: Steve Shaw

Throughout Sculthorpe signs of protest against the housing plans are evident. Picture: Steve Shaw

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Following a long string of legal battles a planning application that could double the size of a Norfolk village could go before the Court of Appeal.

Tom Fitzpatrick. Picture: SubmittedTom Fitzpatrick. Picture: Submitted

A planning application for 200 homes in Sculthorpe, near Fakenham, has been fiercely opposed by the local community and after a High Court judge overturned a planning inspector’s decision to reject the plan, it could go to one of the highest courts in the country.

Tom FitzPatrick, councillor at North Norfolk District Council, said he would be giving villagers a full update during an annual meeting on May 31.

“People want an update on where things stand with High Court judgement,” he said.

“We have appealed the decision made to overturn the inspector’s decisions so we should have some news at the end of the month.

Campaigners gathered to greet the planning inspector on the final day of the inquiry. Picture: Steve ShawCampaigners gathered to greet the planning inspector on the final day of the inquiry. Picture: Steve Shaw

“Our appeal means it could go to the Court of Appeal, which is second only to the Supreme Court, however it can take months to get a hearing. I will continue to support the villagers and oppose these plans, not because I am against development, I am in favour of it, but it needs to be in the right place and this is not the right place.”

The inspector’s ruling was overturned because it was deemed he had failed to take into account the public benefits that the development would bring.

Among those benefits is the offer made by Amstel - a company based in the British Virgin Islands - to supply land for a new school and contribute £372,609 towards the estimated £2.5 million needed for the building. The rest of the costs are due to be met by the Diocese of Norwich.

Sculthorpe villager Gillian Gray, who has protested against the development, said that most people in the village are now just looking for a final decision so they can move on.

“I think it should go back to another planning inspector. If it was to go to the Supreme Court it would be more costly for the council and the tax payer. My view is that the Supreme Court would likely back the High Court and the council is more likely to have success with a new planning inspector.”

The meeting will take place at 6pm on May 31 at the Sculthorpe Village Hall and parish chairman Tony Walters said that along with discussion of the housing development, there will be updates on local clubs, societies and policing.

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