Wells Town Council claims planning decision feedback is being ignored

Wells quay. Picture: Ian Burt

Wells quay. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

A planning decision has prompted Wells Town Council to voice concerns over the apparent lack of support given to them by the district council.

The issue was raised during a town council meeting held on December 4 and prompted by the North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) decision in October to approve a planning application which councillors and residents had objected to.

Town councillors highlighted their concerns about a general lack of consideration given to their feedback in the planning process and concluded that an NNDC representative should be invited to a future meeting to discuss the issue.

While the NNDC did give approval to the application for the two-storey dwelling in East Quay in October, a document detailing the reasons behind the decision shows they did attempt to address some of the objections.

In response to concerns over a potential flood risk, the NNDC stated the developer cannot allow the property to be occupied until an emergency flood plan is in place and flood resistance measures have been incorporated.

They also stipulate that building materials must be approved by the Local Planning Authority to ensure they are “visually appropriate” for the surroundings, mitigating the town council’s concerns over the appearance.

A spokesperson for the town council said the discussion had occurred due to the East Quay decision but it is the latest in a number of disagreements and “has been an issue for many years”.

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He warned if feedback continues to be ignored it could have significant implications on local democracy.

NNDC Cabinet Member for Planning, Councillor Sue Arnold, said: “We value and carefully consider comments of town and parish councils as consultees commenting on planning applications but are sometimes unable to agree with their position in respect of all applications, where there are not clearly stated planning grounds for refusing proposals.

“To refuse a planning application without such grounds could involve potential costs – both in terms of officer time defending any appeal and potentially having to pay costs to the applicant, as such cost liabilities do not fall on local town and parish tax payers.”