A senior Hethersett parish councillor has resigned in frustration after his village’s concerns failed to prevent a developer’s bid to build more than 1,000 homes.

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Gary Wyatt, who was chairman of Hethersett Parish Council’s planning committee, stepped down following South Norfolk Council’s decision to approve the controversial application on Wednesday.

Mr Wyatt said he felt that parish councils, however determined in their opposition, did not have the power to over-ride the house-building priorities of planning authorities.

“I felt I needed to make a stand,” he said. “I have absolutely no argument with Hethersett Parish Council – it is just the frustration with parish councils in general that we seem unable to influence anything that goes on.

“We are the people on the ground, and we know the reactions of people around us, but we seem impotent when it comes to something like this which will increase the size of this village by 50pc.

“This kind of thing makes a complete nonsense of the government’s idea of localism. We are the most local form of government, yet we have no influence or powers when it comes to the really big, important decisions that affect us.”

The Hethersett scheme includes 1,196 houses, road improvements, shops, businesses, a primary school and recreation area built, as well an extension to the Thickthorn park and ride.

Concerns included fears of a traffic increase, traffic congestion, a loss of character in the village and a possible extension of its boundaries into protected green space.

James Utting of Hethersett Our Way, which has been campaigning against the development, said the group would continue to oppose the scheme.

“We have consulted our professional planning consultant to see what options are available – we will maintain as much pressure against this inappropriate development as we are able,” he said.

“The application is wrong for many other reasons, but possibly our over-riding concern is that residents voices have been ignored and elected councillors, when provided with a good opportunity and strong grounds to stem the flow of unwelcome and unnecessary expansion, have favoured the development lobby – not the people they are there to represent.”

The plans were approved by South Norfolk’s development management committee, which imposed conditions including that no residential development could take place to the east of Burnthouse Lane until a “strategic gap” was agreed.

The scheme will be built in five phases, beginning in the middle and moving east towards the second phase and then west. It is expected to take between 10 and 12 years to complete.

15 comments

  • As someone who grew up in Hethersett, chose to move back because it's a good place to live, and has supported the Hethersett Our Way campaign, I was hugely disappointed and angry at the planning decision. A large number of residents are seriously concerned about the impact on traffic, schools, doctors and the general character of the village. It's a shame though that more residents didn't have their say when they could. The Parish Council is supposed to represent the concerns of residents and so to hear that they are unable to influence a decision like this is doubly disappointing. I admire Mr Wyatt's principles but it is a real shame that someone who cares about the future of our village has to resign to make a point.

    Report this comment

    Hethersettgirl

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Failing to recognise local concerns and environmentally detrimental planning decision s driven by political, not sustainable reasons are the hall marks of South Norfolk's and Norfolk Conservatives, sadly. I thank Mr. Wyatt for his principled stance and hope that he will not give up, but fight. Independent voices are getting louder and soon developers will not be able to drown out people's voices.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Well said "Only Me". We'll take your taxes and grants but you can't share the countryside. Bunch of NIMBY's

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Thanks for all your comments, both positive and negative. One of the reasons I resigned was to start a debate about the lack of influence and power that parish councils have when it comes to the really big local decisions that affect our lives and I hope more will follow on this subject. My protest about this particular development is connected more with the size and site. Hethersett has grown steadily over the years but the scale and impact of this development will be overwhelming. I am pleased that people want to come and live here but it would be a shame if the quality of life was spoiled for everyone, both new and old residents. And to answer one particular comment, the house I live in has been here more than 40 years ..... Please keep the comments rolling in !

    Report this comment

    Gary Wyatt

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Failing to recognise local concerns and environmentally detrimental planning decision s driven by political, not sustainable reasons are the hall marks of South Norfolk's and Norfolk Conservatives, sadly. I thank Mr. Wyatt for his principled stance and hope that he will not give up, but fight. Independent voices are getting louder and soon developers will not be able to drown out people's voices.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Headline in the EDP today: 'this makes a nonsense of localism'. WRONG! This hasn't made a nonsense of localism because localism has always been nonsense, just like the Big Society, austerity, and the rest of Cameron's rhetoric. It's all public relations piffle to keep headline writers on his side.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Well done this man. Unfortunately money will always talk when it comes to the environment. Will a thousand homes in Hethersett have an environmental impact? Of course but weighed against the bank balances of the many involved who will never even visit Hethersett, it is irrelevant.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • This sounds like an excellent plan to me, houses are badly needed and Hethersett is ideally placed for people to live in the country but work in the city. Current residents have no right to stop people having the advantages that they themselves already have. The people who'll live there aren't aliens you know, they are people just like you! So wipe the toffee off your noses and welcome them.

    Report this comment

    Only Me

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • I have to take issue with some of the points and the attack by el 84 on Gary. Gary is a man of high principles who wants what is best for the village. There are many people working tirelessly and selflessly for the good of Hethersett. People with no political persuasions who have helped to make Hethersett Norfolk Community of the Year. That award has nothing to do with politics but is a reflection of all the good things about the village. Knowing Gary as I do I know he will continue to fight to improve facilities in the village and will join us in ensuring the developers keep the many promises they made in literature and at numerous public meetings and consultations

    Report this comment

    Peter Steward

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Well done this man. Unfortunately money will always talk when it comes to the environment. Will a thousand homes in Hethersett have an environmental impact? Of course but weighed against the bank balances of the many involved who will never even visit Hethersett, it is irrelevant.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Well done for the gentleman taking a stand.Are the children who go to the new primary school not in need secondary education. You never see secondary schools mentioned when large developments are approved. How many more beds at hospital? I am not a Hethersett resident

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • As someone who grew up in Hethersett, chose to move back because it's a good place to live, and has supported the Hethersett Our Way campaign, I was hugely disappointed and angry at the planning decision. A large number of residents are seriously concerned about the impact on traffic, schools, doctors and the general character of the village. It's a shame though that more residents didn't have their say when they could. The Parish Council is supposed to represent the concerns of residents and so to hear that they are unable to influence a decision like this is doubly disappointing. I admire Mr Wyatt's principles but it is a real shame that someone who cares about the future of our village has to resign to make a point.

    Report this comment

    Hethersettgirl

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • Thanks for all your comments, both positive and negative. One of the reasons I resigned was to start a debate about the lack of influence and power that parish councils have when it comes to the really big local decisions that affect our lives and I hope more will follow on this subject. My protest about this particular development is connected more with the size and site. Hethersett has grown steadily over the years but the scale and impact of this development will be overwhelming. I am pleased that people want to come and live here but it would be a shame if the quality of life was spoiled for everyone, both new and old residents. And to answer one particular comment, the house I live in has been here more than 40 years ..... Please keep the comments rolling in !

    Report this comment

    Gary Wyatt

    Friday, February 1, 2013

  • Well done Mr Wyatt though it's shame that a principled man loses his post to make his voice heard. An example of local politics at its worst and they wonder why the electorate is so disillusioned and suspicious.

    Report this comment

    JanieH

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

  • At least the man has principles, unlike the majority of sheep that represent us.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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