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‘Keep our village a village’: residents launch fightback against developers

PUBLISHED: 13:42 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:44 28 September 2020

Hemsby village sign.

Picture: James Bass

Hemsby village sign. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Residents have been told they have a “once-in-a-generation” chance to shape the next 100 years of development and ensure that their village remains a village.

Opposition has been growing in Hemsby in recent years, with many villagers worried that large housing developments will change the nature of their community.

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On Thursday, Hemsby’s neighbourhood plan steering group and members of the public met to discuss the plan.

The group’s vice chair George Waterman said the plan will have the same legal clout as Great Yarmouth Borough Council district-wide plan - and urged residents to take part in a survey.

Hemsby village neighbourhood plan steering group - run by volunteers and funded by Hemsby Parish Council - held a meeting on Thursday, September 24 to discuss Hemsby's first ever neighbourhood plan, and how to get residents involved in it. Members of the public were entitled to join. Photo: ZoomHemsby village neighbourhood plan steering group - run by volunteers and funded by Hemsby Parish Council - held a meeting on Thursday, September 24 to discuss Hemsby's first ever neighbourhood plan, and how to get residents involved in it. Members of the public were entitled to join. Photo: Zoom

“What we say in this plan, as residents, will help dictate the last wave of development in our village for the better part of this century,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

Steering group member Tracy Hutchinson said the plan would lead the drive to “keep the village a village”.

She said: “Over the past three years in Hemsby, we’ve had over 500 houses built. And just as we’ve all processed the Pontins development, we’ve got another one for 150 houses at Highfield Equestrian Centre.

“It’s currently a horse stable and fields, and I know we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet here when we say we want our open spaces left alone.”

MORE: Fears village is growing too big as another housing bid emerges

One resident said she was worried about the potential strain on the doctors’ surgery.

Ms Hutchinson replied that you “only had to watch what happens on flu-jab day” to see the pressure the village was facing, with and parking “chaos” almost inevitable.

Mr Waterman said that since it was impossible to stop development altogether, the neighbourhood plan was essentially a “managed retreat” - and the best chance residents had of helping check over-development.

He said: “We can voice our need for affordable housing, so our children can live here, and can make sure the money from developers’ 106 agreements is actually spent in the village itself.”

He added: “Developers aren’t evil - they aren’t sent to destroy us. We just need to let them know how we feel about what they’re doing - and this is our chance.”

Borough councillor James Bensly said: “It’s tempting for people to think what they say has no impact on planning decisions.

“But actually, this plan is a template for how we want the village to look in 20-30 years time.”

Take part in the survey here:
www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/HemsbyNP
























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