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Ombudsman complaint over Stratton homes

PUBLISHED: 14:36 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 12 July 2010

A formal complaint has been made to the government Ombudsman about the handling of a controversial planning application to develop a site in Long Stratton.

A formal complaint has been made to the government Ombudsman about the handling of a controversial planning application to develop a site in Long Stratton.

It has been submitted by residents of Lime Tree Avenue and Willow Close in Long Stratton, who have raised concerns about the conduct of some of the councillors and officials during the process.

The application by builder Persimmon Homes to build 56 new homes at Lime Tree Avenue, dragged on for almost two years before South Norfolk Council's planning committee finally granted consent last December, despite strong local opposition.

During that time two proposals were rejected, the key concerns being the development would exacerbate existing problems with sewerage overflowing and increase traffic dangers at the junction with the A140. But the refusals were deemed to be “unlawful” by South Norfolk Council's monitoring officer, although on the second occasion the decision was successfully challenged by residents and overturned. A previous planning approval was also revoked.

Paul Ruddock, spokesman for the residents said “We have a number of concerns over the way in which this application was handled and believe the only proper course of action is for an independent power such as the government Ombudsman to investigate the whole issue. We are happy to provide all the information at our disposal to assist any official enquiry.”

Former district councillor Phil Waltham, who was portfolio holder for safer communities at the time, added: “This complaint to the ombudsman was inevitable. It is difficult to see what else the aggrieved residents can do.”

Stuart Shortman, Solicitor to South Norfolk Council said: “We have not been informed of any complaint to the Ombudsman, but we shall obviously co-operate fully with any enquiries the Ombudsman may make.”

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