Angry residents warned over abusive phone calls in ‘unsightly’ Wodehouse planning row

The new building sits along Wodehouse Road in Norfolk
The new building sits along Wodehouse Road in Norfolk - CHRIS BISHOP/NEWSQUEST MEDIA GROUP

Angry residents have been asked to stop bombarding parish councillors with abusive phone calls over an “unsightly” new build in a planning row.

Councillors in Old Hunstanton, Norfolk, posted on the village noticeboard threatening to report the matter to police if the calls continue.

The angry calls relate to a new building on Wodehouse Road, which is named after the author who was a regular visitor to the village in the 1920s and 30s.

The property is a point of contention with residents and the parish council claiming the “unsightly” building has breached planning conditions and infringed the privacy of neighbours.

Nick Eastwell, the parish council chairman, pointed out that the planning dispute was not a matter for his authority, but was being dealt with by the borough council.

“The calls related to an ongoing planning dispute which, as we have publicly pointed out, is a matter for West Norfolk Council planning and not Old Hunstanton Parish Council,” he said.

He did not identify the caller or state on which side of the dispute he or she was on.

He said the calls were “totally unacceptable”, but added: “Happily thick-skinned councillors were largely untroubled.”

“The website statement was designed to warn the caller off from a repeat performance, at which point we would report the matter to the police.”

The website statement by Mr Eastwell
The website statement by Mr Eastwell - KARL GRAFTON

In the message on the council website, he wrote: “Parish councillors are unpaid volunteers who strive as individuals and as a collective body to always act in the best interests of the village and parishioners.

“It is completely unacceptable for members of the public to make abusive phone calls to parish councillors.

Mr Eastwell added if any member of the public has issues or comments, they should raise them with the parish clerk or bring them up at one of the council’s monthly meetings.

The dispute relates to a house which is being built on Wodehouse Road, not far from the beach, on the site of a cottage which has been demolished to make way for it.

Ten locals have objected to an application to the West Norfolk council to amend the conditions of planning permission regarding the elevations of the new property, granted in 2023.

The parish council is also objecting, stating that there may have been breaches of the original planning permission.

It said on the West Norfolk council’s planning portal: “The breaches have led to the existence of a building that appears to be too big and high for its plot and the surrounding dwellings and which directly impacts upon the light and privacy of the immediate neighbours and is viewed as being unsightly within the local neighbourhood generally.”

PG Wodehouse was a frequent visitor to Old Hunstanton and featured it in his stories
PG Wodehouse was a frequent visitor to Old Hunstanton and featured it in his stories - STUART AYLMER/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

The developers are named in planning papers as Mr and Mrs Middleton. Parish minutes say Mrs Middleton spoke at a council meeting in March, saying “the objections have caused stress and been upsetting”.

They added: “The parish council was asked to remove their objections but advised that they have to remain. It was suggested that we may look silly at the planning committee meeting.”

A decision is expected later this summer from the West Norfolk council.

PG Wodehouse, the author, was a frequent visitor to Old Hunstanton and featured its moated hall in some of his Jeeves and Wooster stories.

The village and nearby town are said to be the setting for Money for Nothing, one of Wodehouse’s novel. A folly in the hall also features in some of his stories, including Jeeves and the Impending Doom.