‘No compelling justification’ for Methwold homes bid, say council planners

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Plans for 30 new homes in Methwold, which critics say would destroy a centuries old landscape if approved, have been opposed by council planning officials.

Developers insist their plans to build on an area of open land in Crown Street are sustainable and would not harm either the surrounding area or nearby listed buildings.

But officers have recommended that the application is refused when it is considered by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee next Tuesday, April 5.

Their report said: “It is not considered that a compelling justification has been advanced for these dwellings that would outweigh the high level of harm to the heritage assets resulting from the development.”

Concerns were first raised about the plans for the land in December amid residents’ fears over the impact on the surrounding conservation and the grade one listed St George’s Church and Old Rectory, as well as the grade two listed New Hall.

The application for the land, which is owned by the family of local councillor Martin Storey, insists the plan has been drawn up to take those assets into account.

It also points out that the site was included in future development site allocations.

But dozens of residents have joined the parish council and heritage groups in opposing the proposals.

Although Mr Storey is a member of the council’s planning committee, he will not be able to take part in its discussions on this scheme.