Plans for a major housing development in Gaywood look set to be approved next week, despite calls for the site to be protected.
West Norfolk Council is seeking planning permission for 379 homes on land off Parkway, plus a new road and a vehicle and pedestrian bridge leading from the new estate to Rollesby Road on the Hardwick Industrial Estate.
The application was submitted in May last year following an online consultation and is due to be discussed at a special council meeting online on Wednesday.
A mixture of one, two, three and four-bedroom houses and flats, including 57 affordable homes, is proposed either side of Howard Junior School and King’s Oak Academy, linking Gaywood with the Fairstead estate.
The 48-acre site, which has many trees, is made up of parkland, scrubland and open fields and objections have been raised abut the loss of “King’s Lynn’s last truly wild place”.
But in a report to the planning committee, published yesterday, officers recommended the application be approved, concluding the benefits outweighed the harm, including the “regrettable” loss of trees.
A Save Lynn’s Wild Woodland and Wetland online petition has been signed by more than 2,500 people, including actor, Stephen Fry and the council has received more than 200 letters of objection, with particular concern for breeding birds and protected species including bats and water vole.
King’s Lynn Civic Society and West Norfolk Green Party have also objected, raising concerns about the loss of public open space which is “well-used by the community”, mature trees and wildlife habitat.
But Natural England and the council’s arboricultural officer have raised no objection to the development.
Officers concluded the application would “deliver good quality, and much-needed, new market and affordable housing in a highly sustainable location.”
The report to committee members said the development would bring benefits including “significant infrastructure improvements,” areas of open space and an improved play area and MUGA (multi-use games area).
While the development would undeniably result in the loss of some habitat, particularly for breeding birds, a number of steps were being taken to mitigate the damage, including the retention of mature tree belts, officers concluded. One of the conditions of approval would be a £150,000 contribution towards planting new trees or creating an off-site habitat.
Visit www.west-norfolk.gov.uk to watch the meeting, starting at 9.30am.