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Candidates condemn ‘shameful’ King’s Lynn housing decision during debate

todayApril 17, 2021 3

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A decision to permit the construction of hundreds of new homes in Gaywood has been condemned as “quite shameful” during a pre-election climate change debate.

Permission for nearly 380 properties, plus a road bridge to the Hardwick industrial estate, on land off Parkway was granted by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee on Thursday.

But campaigners against the proposal have signalled their intent to fight on.

GV Picture of Land which is being Proposed for Possible New Housing Development for the Gaywood Area...Land between King's Lynn Academy Site off Queen Mary Road/Parkway Gaywood and Howard Junior School. (45744555)
GV Picture of Land which is being Proposed for Possible New Housing Development for the Gaywood Area…Land between King’s Lynn Academy Site off Queen Mary Road/Parkway Gaywood and Howard Junior School. (45744555)

And the issue was fresh in the minds of two of the panellists taking part in a virtual hustings, organised by the Fenland and West Norfolk Friends of the Earth group, on Thursday night.

Independent candidate Sandra Squire, who was one of six committee members to reject the scheme, said: “We need long-term thinking with plans to help our communities to cope.

“We are still building on flood plains and wetlands and talking about 100 year events.”

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats’ Josie Ratcliffe claimed the biggest problem in tackling climate change in West Norfolk was the borough council itself and its policies.

She said: “Their determination to build on a wetland area is quite shameful really.”

Borough council chiefs have repeatedly insisted that the Parkway plans will enhance existing habitats, rather than destroy them as its critics fear.

But organisations which fought the plan are set to meet to consider their next steps in fighting the scheme.

Trudy Clark, of the Nature Volunteer Network, who claimed the plan was “annihilating nature“, said yesterday: “We will fight this all the way.”

The hustings event, which was held over Zoom, also saw Labour and Green Party candidates face questions on what they would do to tackle the area’s environmental issues if they are returned to County Hall on May 6.

Organisers said the Conservatives were also invited to put forward a panellist, but none of its candidates were available.

Labour’s Terry Jermy also condemned the borough council for failing to declare a climate emergency.

A third bid to persuade the authority to make the declaration was voted down last summer, although plans to draw up a climate strategy were backed at that time.

But Mr Jermy said the change that was necessary to protect the environment would not be brought about through “gimmicks alone.”

He said: “Norfolk County Council has a crucial opportunity to lead by example and we cannot delay.”

Meanwhile, the Greens’ Michael de Whalley said environmental impact should be part of every decision made in local government.

He said it made “no sense” that the county was still sending some of its waste to be burnt in incinerators outside Norfolk when cleaner, cheaper alternatives are available.

He said: “Something has to change. We are risking pushing the climate over the edge.”

The full list of candidates standing for election in our area can be found here.

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