Inspector overturns council's rejection of village homes

The four homes are set to go up on land in Thompson, Norfolk

The four homes are set to go up in Thompson, Norfolk, on the green field at the centre of the image. - Credit: Google

Permission for up to four homes in a Norfolk village has been granted after a rejection by elected councillors was overturned.

Thetford-based Blue Oak Developments had applied in October 2020 for permission in principle for a minimum of three homes and a maximum of four homes on a field east of Marlpit Road in Thompson, near Watton. 

Several objections were raised by neighbours, who said the village could not sustain any more homes and that the development would spoil a natural landscape. 

At a meeting in February, Breckland District Council’s planning committee voted to defy the recommendation of their own officers and reject the homes, arguing that they “would unacceptably harm the character and appearance of the area”.

A crackdown on abandoned vehicles has seen Breckland Council remove 150 cars from its roads

Breckland District Council had rejected the proposal at a planning committee meeting in February of this year. - Credit: Archant

The developer then appealed that decision with the Planning Inspectorate, who ruled on December 14 that the permission should be granted. 

The finer details of the development, such as the layout and landscaping, will still need to be approved by the council before the homes can be built.

Planning inspector Matthew Woodward said “the visual impact on the wider countryside and rural setting of Thompson would be limited”. 

Most Read

He added that the homes would only constitute “a small extension” to Thompson and that they would be “in keeping with the verdant village setting and without unduly harming the character and appearance of the area”. 

Mr Woodward took note of the fact that the field is a habitat for the common lizard, but said the council’s ecologist was satisfied the impact on the habitat could be mitigated. 

The inspector said that while it had been put to him that Thompson “has no suitable services which future residents could access”, a small development of the kind proposed would not be inappropriate for the village, and that future residents could in fact support businesses in nearby villages. 

He also noted that the field had a low flood risk and that he had seen no substantive evidence “to suggest that the increase in traffic on local roads arising from the proposal could not be safely accommodated”.

A previous bid for six homes on the site was rejected in 2020 and dismissed on appeal by the Inspectorate. 

Some villagers expressed concern that the developer would make a further application to build more homes on the lower half of the field, but Mr Woodward said any such application would have to be considered on its own merits. 

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