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Villagers say 'no' to Acle supertown

PUBLISHED: 16:05 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:15 03 July 2010

Villagers are opposed to Acle becoming a 'supertown'

Villagers are opposed to Acle becoming a 'supertown'

COMBINING traditional charm and modern day conveniences it's easy to see why Acle is a popular place to live.

Despite its proximity to Great Yarmouth and Norwich the village has lost none of its distinctive identity.

COMBINING traditional charm and modern day conveniences it's easy to see why Acle is a popular place to live.

Despite its proximity to Great Yarmouth and Norwich the village has lost none of its distinctive identity.

Now Acle could be on the cusp of the biggest change in its long history as the county's planning chiefs grapple with the thorny problem finding room for 80,000 new homes in the next 12 years.

Norfolk Association of Architects president Mike Innes has raised the prospect of Acle growing more than 10 times into a town with 30,000 homes as part of an urban corridor linking Yarmouth with Norwich.

This week The Mercury asked a selection of the Acle shop and business owners how they viewed this vision of the future.

Rachael Barnard has seen the village grow busier in the five years she has been running Country Florists in The Street. She said: “This is a lovely area, so it's not surprising more people want to move this way.

“Of course if the population was larger it could be better for business, but residents who have not been in the village so long are not always so bothered about supporting local traders.

“Lots of people are interested in shopping locally and becoming

more self-sufficient.”

Sue Taylor, who has owned Calming Touch holistic therapists for six years, expressed concern over the extent of the potential development.

She said: “From the business side there would be benefits to building more houses, but 30,000 homes seems a lot.

“When I first started trading here the main street used to be quite quiet and it was possible to walk straight across the road, now you have to stand around waiting to cross the traffic is so heavy.

“At the moment Acle is a compact place with plenty of shops and services - it has got everything a village could need.”

Louisa Mutton, who manages Chocolate Box newsagents, was not keen to see the village growing any larger.

“Acle doesn't need to be any bigger, business is absolutely fine,” she said. “How would the schools cope with all the development, it is difficult to get a doctor's appointment now. Where would we put all the houses?”

New Acle News and Coffee Shop co-owner Denise Kett, thought the priority should be providing more affordable homes. She said: “It is not easy for young people to stay in the village - it seems wrong that developers come in from outside get a piece of land and put luxury housing on it.

“I cannot imagine 30,000 people living here or where the houses could be built it would be like a big town.”

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