Joy in Bracon Ash as bid to build 52 new homes in the village is rejected by South Norfolk Council
- Credit: Archant
Residents say defeating a controversial bid for 52 new homes has prevented the 'desecration' of their small, idyllic village.
South Norfolk Council's development management committee unanimously voted down the application for a 2.64ha site off the B113 Norwich Road in Bracon Ash because of concerns over its impact on the village, its community and nearby historic homesteads.
The committee's 11 members voted unanimously against the homes at a meeting in Long Stratton today, despite the recommendation of council officers, who said any concerns were outweighed by the lack of a five-year housing supply in the Norwich policy area.
Colin Rudd, chairman of Bracon Ash and Hethel Parish Council, said he was thrilled with the refusal, which had drawn widespread opposition in the parish.
He said: 'We are delighted that common sense has prevailed. It would have been a desecration of a very pretty rural village.'
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Luke Stone, chairman of Bracon Ash Residents' Group: 'We've been fighting for this decision for 18 months.
'We weren't a group made up of short-sighted 'not in my backyard' homeowners, but were merely a small village community that wants to see the homes society undoubtedly needs built in the right place, properly thought out and with full consideration for the environment in which they sit.
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'This proposal was flawed in so many ways and would have had a hugely negative impact – affecting heritage, road safety, drainage, wildlife and much more besides.'
MORE: Residents of Bracon Ash ready for showdown over plans for 52 new homesMr Stone said Norwich Road was a designated HGV route used by 6,000 vehicles a day, and it had only narrow footpaths.
Council officers said that 'side friction' created by a number of vehicle access points would help reduce the speed of traffic, but opponents said it still presented an unacceptable risk.
This site is also close to two Grade II listed buildings, Home Farm House and Mergate Hall.
Heather Barnes from Home Farm House said: 'The whole of the village has been united by this and I'm so pleased it has worked out this way.'
Concerns about flood risk and the huge impact the estate would have had on the village's size - increasing the population by almost 65pc - were also raised.
But the plans were considered acceptable by highways and flood risk authorities. Simon Henry, from Bidwells, arguing on behalf of the developers, Bracon Ash Developments, said: 'There is not currently the five-year supply required under national planning policy. The public benefit of this proposal outweighs any harm to the heritage assets.'