Plans for 385 homes near Wymondham Abbey are refused

Wymondham Abbey

Wymondham Abbey - Credit: copyright Archant 2007

Plans for 385 homes and a new primary school close to historic buildings in Wymondham were refused by councillors who were concerned about the impact of the development.

Hallam Land Management had applied to South Norfolk Council for permission to develop the homes on land between Suton Lane and London Road.

But on Wednesday the council's development management committee rejected the plans amid concerns the housing was being built on land that had not been earmarked for development in the Wymondham Area Action Plan, which outlines space where 2,200 new homes should be built.

A report by planning officers stated that although Hallam Land Management's plan would create a two-form entry primary school, there were not enough secondary places for pupils to go to when older.

It would, officers said, also have a 'detrimental impact' on the area's heritage – particularly on the nearby Grade II-listed Gonville Hall and Wymondham Abbey, which would be just 900m away from the site.

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David Edleston, the council's conservation, design and landscape manager, said: 'My concern is that it will cause a danger of harm, but it will be less than substantial.

'However, the level of harm, even though it is at a low level, is a reason for refusing the application.'

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Chris Hey, from the county council's children's services department, said Wymondham High Academy would not be able to accommodate pupils from the new homes and could not expand beyond the capacity needed for the 2,200 homes proposed for Wymondham in the Greater Norwich Development Partnership's Joint Core Strategy.

Therefore, children from the new homes could have to travel more than three miles further afield, meaning more 'outward transport' would be needed - potentially denying parents who had wanted Wymondham High Academy as their first choice.

However, the town's mayor, Dianne Fernee, said the town council supported the plans on the grounds they met the criteria for small developments.

She added there would be good transport links on to the B1172 and the A11, while she disputed the impact the development would have on Wymondham Abbey, adding there were other home sites closer to the historic building.

However Abbey Road resident Cecilia Riccardi said she opposed the homes plan because it did not comply with the town's action plan for areas where homes could be built.

A representative of the developer disputed whether the academy would not be able to accommodate the pupils.

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