'Ludicrous': Fate of controversial housing bid now out of council's hands
- Credit: Sarah Burgess
A developer fed up with the council's hesitancy over the fate a controversial planning application has gone over its head — and straight to Westminster for an answer.
Witnesham Ventures Limited, the Ipswich firm hoping to add two storeys and eight flats to an Earlham Court residential block in Heigham Grove, has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate over Norwich City Council's non-determination of its planning application.
If the appeal is granted, the application will be approved or rejected by the inspectorate and not the council.
The plans, which were validated in March, received 59 objections relating to sink holes and the "over-dominance" of the proposed extension.
A spokeswoman for the council said its officer was going to recommend the application for refusal due to the detailed objections, and comments questioning the accuracy of the submitted plans.
She explained: "The officer needed to carry out detailed research to make sure he was making a lawful decision.
You may also want to watch:
"That, coupled with other work commitments, meant he couldn't make a decision before the developer went to the Planning Inspectorate.
"Any delays in determination were not intentional.
- 1 Tenant's despair as council fixes his windows by screwing them shut
- 2 'Our lives are being destroyed': Neighbours' despair over noisy students
- 3 Pupil taken to hospital after incident at Thorpe St Andrew school
- 4 City staff facing 'mass burnout' but what is behind the extreme exhaustion?
- 5 Changes in gambling habits see city bookies shutting up shop
- 6 Norwich named UK's most romantic destination
- 7 Nearly 4,000 people wait for council homes - but fewer than 200 available
- 8 Fish and chip shop offering battered birthday cake to celebrate 50 years
- 9 Man killed after collision with double-decker bus on A146 named
- 10 Fresh plans for rooftop bar on St Stephens
"As part of the appeal, the council will make its case for refusal."
Jeremy Butterworth, the developer's agent, said: "Since the validation of the application in March the council has not responded to emails or phone calls, nor provided any feedback.
"It has missed the deadline to determine the application by over four months."
The council rejects this completely, saying it provided feedback and only had one missed call from the developer during the process.
Helen Morris owns a flat in one of the three buildings which make up Earlham Court.
She is one of many homeowners now fearful the council's indecision could see the flats approved by top brass in government.
Two are owned by Witnesham, but her block is owned by a residents' association, Earlham Court Limited, which managed to buy the freehold off Witnesham in 2012.
The 78-year-old said: "The council has rejected two previous planning applications from Witnesham which were totally inappropriate.
"I don't know why they didn't just make a decision about the third. It's ludicrous. A complete dereliction of their duty."