'Ludicrous': Fate of controversial housing bid now out of council's hands

The block earmarked for development, which sits back slightly from Earlham Road

The block earmarked for development, which sits back slightly from Earlham Road - 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 letter delivered to the building's managing agents outlining the developer's appeal

The letter delivered to the building's managing agents outlining the developer's appeal - Credit: Earlham Court Limited

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.

Most Read

"As part of the appeal, the council will make its case for refusal."

Green Councillor Denise Carlo with resident of Heigham Grove

Green councillor Denise Carlo (left) looks out over the proposed development site with a resident who is helping orchestrate objection letters and posters to be displayed in Heigham Grove windows - Credit: Sarah Burgess

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.

Fazlun and Saba Khalid in their Heigham Grove flat

Fazlun Khalid and Saba Khalid have lived in their block, directly behind the proposed development site on a higher level, for three years. They said they would be devastated if the application was granted - - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Objection letters in residents' windows around the Grove

Objection letters in the windows of homes around the Grove - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Objection letters in residents' windows around the Grove

Objection letters in the windows of homes around the Grove - Credit: Sarah Burgess

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."

Helen Morris is chair of Earlham Court Limited

Helen Morris is chair of Earlham Court Limited - and is one of the neighbouring flat owners deeply concerned at the council's "inaction" - Credit: Helen Morris


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter