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Housing applications have been flooding in to West Norfolk Council after the government decided it did not have a valid five-year land plan.

Without a recognised plan in place, the authority is obliged to err on the side of the developer.

Just two West Norfolk villages have more than 100 homes in the pipeline between them – with many not on land previously allocated for housing.

Developers have applied to build estates of up to 40 properties in Outwell and Upwell as a direct result of a lack of a five-year land plan.

Chairman of Outwell Parish Council, John Wade, said that in his own opinion, while there was a need for new homes, the developers were treating the village as an ‘open field’ in terms of the number of applications outstanding.

“Outwell and Upwell are big villages and there are sites where housing should be allowed. We have the facilities here,” he said.

But following a parish council meeting this week, Mr Wade said the agents and developers were probably taking a chance on submitting applications while the situation remained.

West Norfolk is not the only council which has been told it does not have a five-year plan, despite officers thinking it did. A High Court judgment last year found the council had not met government standards.

The council lost a challenge in the court to build 40 homes in Clenchwarton.

A planning meeting due to be held on Monday has applications outstanding for 216 new homes across the borough with everything from 46 proposed for Terrington St John to two at Docking.

“Undoubtedly planning application numbers are up compared to the previous year,” said a council spokesman who added the authority had received an extra 197 applications between October 1 and January 31 compared to last year.

There will be a public inquiry into a Heacham development in May and the council will be confirming the current situation with its five year land supply by April 19.

“The calculation is complicated and depends on a large number of assumptions,” the spokesman added.