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Victory for villagers as Sculthorpe housing appeal is dismissed

PUBLISHED: 14:05 06 July 2017

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

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

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Villagers are celebrating the dismissal of an appeal for a new residential development.

Large boards throughout Sculthorpe display the 'say no to Indigo' slogan in reference to Amstel Groups agents, Indigo. Picture: Steve ShawLarge boards throughout Sculthorpe display the 'say no to Indigo' slogan in reference to Amstel Groups agents, Indigo. Picture: Steve Shaw

Campaigners in Sculthorpe, near Fakenham, have been fighting plans to double the size of the village with 200 new homes since 2015.

The initial proposals were dismissed by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) in 2016 but Amstel Group Corporation, a company registered in the British Vigin Islands, appealed to get the decision overturned.

A planning inspector finally dismissed that appeal on Thursday July 6, arguing that the council already has a five year housing plan in place.

Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, leader of NNDC, said: “We are absolutely delighted for the people in Sculthorpe who were so concerned about this plan.

School childen from Sculthorpe have designed their own posters to protest proposals for a new school. Picture: Steve ShawSchool childen from Sculthorpe have designed their own posters to protest proposals for a new school. Picture: Steve Shaw

“The inspector’s findings show the importance of planned and sustainable development that doesn’t swamp existing communities but conserves and builds on what is already there.

“This plan was never sustainable – the village has no shop, one restaurant and an infrequent bus service. The development would have doubled the size of the village and potentially at least doubled the traffic movements because of the nature of the family homes proposed.

“We are not averse to development, but it must be in the right place.”

The inspector, who was appointed by the Secretary of State, dismissed the appeal for a range of reasons, but highlighted the efforts of the council to show they had already planned for future development.

According to the report, the council had been able to “convincingly demonstrate at least a five year supply of deliverable housing sites” and it had taken a “pragmatic, robust and convincing approach” to the assessment of its housing needs.

It also found that the proposal would conflict with policies intended to direct development to where it is needed and protect the countryside and historic environment.

Councillor Sue Arnold, cabinet member for planning, said: “The inspector has made it very clear that across the district NNDC has demonstrated five years’ supply of deliverable housing sites. This is an excellent result both for Sculthorpe and for the district as a whole.”

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