BREAKING NEWS: ‘We have enough land for homes’, West Norfolk Council claims

GV of  the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn ANL-160704-112750009

GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn ANL-160704-112750009

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Council officials have claimed they now have adequate stocks of housing land in West Norfolk, almost a year after a judge concluded they didn’t.

There has been a major surge in housing developments across the borough in recent months after the borough council lost a High Court challenge to a planning decision last summer.

But, this afternoon, the authority said it had now reached the necessary level to hold a five-year supply of housing land.

Officials say the new assessment is based on submissions made ahead of a public inquiry into a proposed scheme for dozens of new homes off School Road, Heacham, next month.

A statement issued a short time ago said: “This position will be tested thoroughly at the inquiry, but the council believes it can demonstrate such a level of supply.”

Last year, the council took legal action to challenge a planning inspector’s decision to reverse its refusal of planning consent for 40 homes on the old Fosters sports ground site in Clenchwarton.

But a High Court judge backed the inspector’s assessment that the council did not have a five-year land supply.

Since then, the authority has had to assess planning applications according to national planning policy guidelines, which contain a presumption in favour of “sustainable development”, rather than its own policies drawn up under local plans.

That has led to a significant increase in the number of plans being lodged with the authority. More than 350 new homes were approved across the borough during three days of planning committee sessions earlier this month.

Today’s announcement means schemes will now be assessed according to the authority’s local development framework and other planning documents until a ruling on the Heacham scheme, expected in July, is delivered.

The issue is set to be reviewed again in the light of that decision.