Developer finally gives up the fight to build 200 homes in long-running battle with council

Campaigners gathered to greet the planning inspector on the final day of the inquiry into the Sculth

Campaigners gathered to greet the planning inspector on the final day of the inquiry into the Sculthorpe development's refusal last year. Picture: Steve Shaw - Credit: Archant

A planning appeal which could have led to 200 new homes at Sculthorpe, near Fakenham, has been withdrawn, meaning the development will not go ahead.

Indigo Planning’s appeal, made on behalf of Amstel Group Corporation, for the homes, has been officially withdrawn with the Planning Inspectorate.

North Norfolk District Council has argued for the past three years that the planned development was not sustainable, not in the right place and would have harmed a number of heritage assets.

The council said its success in defending a decision to refuse a proposal for 200 houses at Green’s Road, North Walsham, helped confirm the council’s strong five-year housing land supply position – which it believes may have had a bearing on the withdrawal of the Sculthorpe application.

Councillor Sue Arnold, cabinet member for planning and housing, said: “I welcome the decision by Amstel to withdraw their appeal.

“Whilst the council needs to ensure it is planning for sufficient homes across the district, the proposal in Sculthorpe was in the wrong place and was of the wrong scale for a community of Sculthorpe’s size.

“Had it been granted, the scheme would undoubtedly have undermined delivery of planned housing and employment growth in Fakenham and elsewhere.”

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Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, ward member for Walsingham, which includes the parish of Sculthorpe, said: “This was never going to be a sustainable development.

“This will certainly be welcomed by the villagers of Sculthorpe, who I have supported as ward member over the last few years. They faced having their village doubled in size.”

The council originally refused planning permission in January 2016 for an application by Amstel Group Corporation Ltd for 71 homes, with up to a further 129 homes and primary school in a second phase.

The developer appealed, and planning inspector held a six-day public inquiry to in April and may last year, upholding the council’s decision.

The developer continued to challenge the refusal, taking the case to the Royal Courts of Justice, and although a judge found the issue “must be reheard”, the developer has now withdrawn its appeal.