A charity hoping to get former homeless adults back on their feet is fighting back against officials after its bid to build more accommodation was blocked by planners.

Breckland Council refused Garboldisham-based Fitchams Farm Turnaround Stays hopes of offering six one-bed pods in the grounds of All Saint's Barn.

But an appeal has now been lodged, arguing the reason for its refusal was "prejudiced". 

The charity says the shared accommodation it currently uses at All Saint's Barn is no longer suitable for those living there and believes the pods will better support their journey to independence.

Eastern Daily Press: The Breckland Council offices in DerehamThe Breckland Council offices in Dereham (Image: Ian Burt)

READ MORE: Plan for homeless 'pods' in Norfolk countryside

But officials decided the plans did not comply with the criteria set out in the Breckland Local Plan, arguing there was not enough evidence to show that neighbours would not be "adversely affected by virtue of the nature of the proposed use."

The charity's agent, C.C. Planning, described this as an "extremely prejudiced position to take" assuming that the nature of the proposal, involving "traumatised former homeless people", would impact neighbours.

The plans were blocked despite the charity already receiving funding from Breckland Council, which referred people to its services and funded living allowances.

Until recently, the site was "fully operational" according to the agent and housed as many as eight people during Covid, claiming the proposal is "simply part of a plan to improve accommodation and make better use of the existing space and buildings."

READ MORE: Dance studio shut down by enforcers hopes to overturn decision

C.C. Planning also argued neighbours were very supportive, with some even asking to be trustees of the charity.

Fincham's Farm Turnaround, in its appeal, called upon the inspector to overturn the council's decision to allow it to continue its work of helping formerly homeless people recover their health, self-esteem and confidence in a "tranquil and supportive environment."

The row continues, with the final decision to be made by the Planning Inspectorate later in the year.