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Concern over housing plans

PUBLISHED: 10:11 16 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:39 03 July 2010

WORRIED homeowners have voiced their disdain for plans that would see major housing developments spring up north east of Norwich.

An exhibition at Wroxham's church hall saw more than 120 residents attend to discuss plans for new homes in the village as well as a number of developments in surrounding areas - including the Rackheath Eco Town.

WORRIED homeowners have voiced their disdain for plans that would see major housing developments spring up north east of Norwich.

An exhibition at Wroxham's church hall saw more than 120 residents attend to discuss plans for new homes in the village as well as a number of developments in surrounding areas - including the Rackheath Eco Town.

The Greater Norwich Development Partnership - made up of Broadland, South Norfolk, Norwich and the Norfolk councils - sparked strong opposition when it produced its joint core strategy to address government demands to build tens of thousands of homes in the area.

They include a suggested 200 homes in Wroxham and between 7,000 and 10,000 in the Old Catton, Rackheath and Thorpe St Andrew “growth triangle” - which incorporates the controversial 4,000-home Eco Town.

This weekend's exhibition, organised by Wroxham parish council, displayed maps of the area as well as press cuttings demonstrating the strength of feeling among villagers.

Chairman Colin Spelman said the suggested developments would ruin the area.

He said: “They are going to blank out Wroxham Broad. It will do significant damage to Wroxham. It changes it from rural to urban.”

Broadland district councillors Chris Green and Andrew Proctor, who support the strategy, also attended.

Council leader Mr Proctor, who described himself as “the man in the firing line” said he had not heard any new arguments at the meeting. He said: “It's nothing we haven't heard before. We don't want this growth here, we don't want the Northern Distributor Road, we don't want anything.”

But he denied claims by campaigners and Wroxham council that the partnership had not listened when it developed the strategy - which will soon be presented to government for approval.

He said: “The response we're getting here is from one element of the Broadland community - it is not the whole of the Broadland community.”

Stuart Lindsay, chairman of Stop Norwich Urbanisation (Snub), came along to support the parish council and collected four pages of signatures for the group's petition. He said villagers recognised a need for housing but objected to the partnership's idea of concentrated development.

He said: “Like all these meetings, the vast majority of people don't want this huge development. They are in favour of a preferred option of dispersal - a smaller amount of houses equally shared among the villages.”

But Mr Proctor said putting a small number of homes in each village would swamp existing facilities like schools and doctor's surgeries without justifying investment in new services.

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