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Mustard Video: Plans for 260 new homes in Thorpe St Andrew are turned down

The vacant Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Andy Darnell

The vacant Pinebanks site in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Andy Darnell

Archant © 2011

Plans for more than 260 new homes in Thorpe St Andrew have been turned down.

The proposals for 215 homes at Pinebanks, the former Norwich Union sports ground, and 52 homes in Griffin Lane, went before Broadland District Council’s planning committee this morning.

A report prepared for the committee by council officers ahead of the meeting had advised councillors to approve the proposals.

However, the plans for 215 houses on the Pinebanks site were voted to be refused by 12 of the 15 councillors on the planning committee.

It was the same for the application to demolish the vacant buildings on the Pinebanks site, the former sports and leisure centre, exempting the Grade II listed Victorian Taylor’s Tower and Second World War Zero Station. That vote saw 12 of the 15 councillors vote to refuse.

While on the third application, the linked scheme to build 52 affordable homes on a site at Griffin Lane, 10 councillors voted to refuse.

The Pinebanks and Griffin Lane sites are linked by one set of S106 planning agreements offered by the developer amounting to about £3 million.

Councillors were unhappy that Broadland’s affordable housing minimum for sites of 33pc was not being met, at under 25pc, and that an estate of only affordable housing was being created on the Griffin Lane site.

Cllr James Joyce, who voted to refuse all three, said: “This is a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg? For me, I’m looking at Pinebanks and Griffin Lane is obviously only there because the developer didn’t want to put the required number of affordable housing on the Pinebanks site, there’s no other reason for it. It is only just under 25pc and I’m sorry but I can’t support that.

“Griffin Lane is an open, nice patch of land and is open for a reason, it’s not been previously developed because of that reason, so I cannot support Griffin Lane and and can not support Pinebanks.”

The Pinebanks site has been left empty for five years and owners Berliet Ltd have pressed ahead with plans to develop the site since December 2009.

Campaigners, including the Friends of Thorpe St Andrew campaign group, had called for the district council to ensure the sports facilities lost on the Pinebanks site are replaced as part of the plans.

Development managers Ocubis, working on behalf of Berliet Ltd, had attempted to compensate for the loss of the sports facilities by pledging several planning agreements.

These included £997,000 towards a new sports facility at Thorpe St Andrew School, which would have public opening hours and for which there is also pre-existing planning permission.

This also included £25,000 for reinstating two football pitches at Dussindale Recreation Ground and £80,000 towards a skate park, while £400,000 would contribute towards a new town council community facility.

- For full reaction to the council’s decision, see tomorrow’s Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News.

- For more about the plans and the history of the site, see the links at the top-right of this page.

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