Doubts cast over housing plan at allotment site

The allotments of Mill Road in Wells-next-the-Sea

A proposal to see affordable and extra-care homes build on the allotments of Mill Road in Wells-next-the-Sea, are in doubt after the town council rejected the plans. - Credit: Google StreetView

Plans for housing on an allotment site in Wells-next-the-Sea are in doubt after town councillors unanimously rejected the proposal. 

Councillors voted against the scheme for 62 'extra-care' homes and 62 affordable homes on the  Mill Road site at their full council meeting on September 6.

The plans were put forward by Medcentres in partnership with North Norfolk District Council and Flagship Housing.

Mike Gates, town mayor, said the land had been transferred the council by Holkham Estate, with a covenant that it could only be used for allotments. 

Mike Gates, the mayor of Wells-next-the-Sea. 

Mike Gates, the mayor of Wells-next-the-Sea. - Credit: Archant Library

“Through the whole room, there was not one voice in support of the proposal,” he said.

“The town needs more affordable housing but it needs to be in the right place.

“This development is large, we're talking about another 60 homes for elderly people, we haven't got the infrastructure for it. Doctors were worried about dealing with the influx and we have a poor ambulance response time.

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“There is also the issue of parking, the town couldn't cope with that size of the development.”

Mark Frary, from Hempton

Mark Frary. - Credit: Mark Frary

Mark Frary voiced his worries about the plans when they were first revealed last week. The fourth-generation allotment holder attended the meeting and was happy to see the plans rejected.

“I’m pleased it got declined, he said. "I have three sheds, polytunnels, and equipment that you could not move alone.

“There are also all the trees up there, around 30pc of people up there have a fruit tree or orchard. I alone have 18 trees on my plot, all established over 10 years. You cannot move them. They would have to be dug up, sawn down and burned.”

The farmer who lives at Hempton, just outside Fakenham, grew up in Wells and wants there to be more affordable housing in the town for local people.

Mr Frary said he thought that despite the rejection, the land will be discussed for planning in the future.

“Twenty years ago, when my grandfather was a councillor in Wells, they were talking about building on there,” he said.

“I feel we are quite safe and have got the land for the next four or five years. But, I’m sure it will be looked at again.”