Campaigners say ‘no’ to building new Norwich community of 3,520 houses on farmland

Sprowston residents against Sprowston residents against " Beyond Green " development proposals for agricultural land between North Walsham Road and Wroxham Road meeting at and walking Church Lane to express their dissatisfaction with the proposals. Photo: Steve Adams

Monday, November 19, 2012
6:30 AM

Campaigners hope to attract support in and around Norwich in their fight to stop proposals for 3,520 houses.

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Sprowston residents against " Beyond Green " development proposals for agricultural land between North Walsham Road and Wroxham Road meeting at and walking Church Lane to express their dissatisfaction with the proposals. Photo: Steve AdamsSprowston residents against " Beyond Green " development proposals for agricultural land between North Walsham Road and Wroxham Road meeting at and walking Church Lane to express their dissatisfaction with the proposals. Photo: Steve Adams

London-based Beyond Green has plans to create a new community on 207.4 hectares of farmland, which is currently owned by five different landowners, over a 15 to 20-year period near Sprowston and Old Catton.

But more than 100 people gathered in Church Lane, Sprowston, after the ever-growing Say No to Sprowston Redevelopment campaign urged people to show their support for protecting the countryside on their doorstep.

The group says it has collected more than 500 signatures for a petition against the idea, with concerns raised about the strain they believe it could place on existing roads and services.

They also took a walk down Church Lane with dogs in tow, to raise awareness of what they say could be lost if the housing is built.

Sprowston residents against " Beyond Green " development proposals for agricultural land between North Walsham Road and Wroxham Road meeting at and walking Church Lane to express their dissatisfaction with the proposals. Photo: Steve AdamsSprowston residents against " Beyond Green " development proposals for agricultural land between North Walsham Road and Wroxham Road meeting at and walking Church Lane to express their dissatisfaction with the proposals. Photo: Steve Adams

Debs Hutchings, who helped organise the campaign, said a headcount suggested they were 141 people who turned up at Saturday’s rally.

Mrs Hutchings told those gathered: “After speaking to lots of people about this, I have not come across one person/household that knew this was happening.

“No literature or publicity direct to the local residents, even now there are still lots of people unaware.

“The population of Sprowston is currently just over 14,000 spread over an area reaching from the ring road out to Salhouse Road and across to Spixworth Road.

“Beyond Green’s proposals are to extend this population by a further 10,000 across a significantly smaller area.”

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Hutchings added: “We understand there has to be some growth. But we would expect them to use brownfield sites first. If there’s a housing need, we understand that, but not at this level.”

Beyond Green has submitted hundreds of pages of documents outlining their masterplan for North Sprowston and Old Catton to Broadland District Council.

They include changes to roads, ideas on how 13 buses an hour could operate from the community, car clubs, cycleways, five new primary/nursery schools, plus a host of community facilities.

It is stated the properties will house around 7,500 people.

Opening up land at Beeston Hall for a new country park is also part of the 82.5 hectares earmarked for green space.

Beyond Green adds it has spent three years consulting with people, groups and organisations about its proposal.

But accountant Roy Hughes, of Sprowston, said: “We already know there’s a serious issue for food security in the UK and Europe as a whole and they are happy to allow good arable land to be used for houses.”

Peter Gallant, 66, of North Walsham Road, Sprowston, said: “We don’t think a lot of the plans. I walk down Church Lane twice a day with my dogs and that will be taken away. I don’t want to walk through the middle of a housing estate.”

Another Sprowston resident added: “The secondary school is already crowded and I can’t get into the doctor’s now. We have heard nothing about the plans.”

Jonathan Smales, executive chairman of Beyond Green, said consultations had been held with the public, community officials, non-governmental organisations such as the Wildlife Trust, and statutory bodies, including the Environment Agency.

Mr Smales said some of the events had been spread over five days, with people able to have their say throughout.

He added they had “no obligation to do this” but he was unsure what more could have been done.

Mr Smales said: “It may not be enough but I doubt there’s a developer anywhere in Britain that’s done any more for public involvement than this.

“I suppose these things have been around for so long and then you see a real project come along and it galvanises attention. But it doesn’t change for me we urgently need new homes, do it properly this time, there’s economic opportunities for people, particularly young people, and the scheme we are proposing has been consulted on in-depth and is a really good plan - although I would say that.”

The plans are part of an overall masterplan, which could see 37,000 houses built in Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland by 2026.

29 comments

  • Abraham, you are to the point as always. But there is a wider picture. What many are trying to say is that when land that was “green” fields once was developed, and that development exceeded its sell by date, it is returned as“brown” fields. These should be redeveloped first. As far as taking in new “green” areas, well “enough is enough”. We must all keep on trying to retain Norfolk as the pleasant place we know

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    Pa Snipps

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • John Norton, your final words summed up the situation very well...If I decide to put an extension on to my home, and when it is finished I don't like the result, I will put the place up for sale and move on. That rings a bell doesn't it?

    Report this comment

    Pa Snipps

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • I agree with 'windless', once every brownfield site in the county is used and redeveloped then, and only then should greenfield sites be considered. as my name suggests I live in North Walsham which has plenty of brownfield sites in dire need of redevelopment, one of which is huge with enough space for a large housing estate. Get these built on first!

    Report this comment

    Walsham Boy

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Which High Schools will the children use as they are all oversubscribed at present, although several have changed to Academies no new ones have been built for years!!!

    Report this comment

    Sarah Urquhart

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Sarah It won't matter much, they don't learn much in any school these days!

    Report this comment

    windup

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Personally I'd rather have an incinerator than 11,000 more cars and the massive loss of countryside.

    Report this comment

    D. ROSS

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • It will be a lovely peaceful environment for the residents,directly under the flight path to Norwich Airport. Take a walk up the lane past the church and imagine how thrilled those living there will be as the landing aircraft pass very close overhead. How "green" is that.? Good planning?!!!.

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    mjc

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Every house is built on what used to be fields.

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    Abraham

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • It will be a lovely peaceful environment for the residents,directly under the flight path to Norwich Airport. Take a walk up the lane past the church and imagine how thrilled those living there will be as the landing aircraft pass very close overhead. How "green" is that.? Good planning?!!!.

    Report this comment

    mjc

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • I have been looking through some of the infrastructure plans and to me two things stand out as causing serious concerns, one is the road network; it would appear to be seriously inadequate with or without an NDR. As for the utilities it would appear that gas and electric are readily available although a large electric supply would have to be run from Hurricane way at a cost of over £5M. But as regards for water supply it would appear that no one know where it is going to come from, and let’s not forget we were in a drought situation earlier this year and if it hadn’t been for a wet summer, we would have been in serious trouble, as Norfolk has a totally isolated water supply and relies on river and groundwater. So I will ask again as I have ask many times including the water company, without ever getting a satisfactorily answer, “Where is the water coming from in the event of a drought”.

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    John L Norton

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • All the arguments proffered here should be directed against the joint core strategy or there will have to be a new campaign to protect the fire which starts up elsewhere. How many of the protesters are prepared to move to the midlands where these jobs 'should be'? Mr Smales is correct, there has been consultation with the public and interested parties since July 2011 all at a stage when other developers keep it in house. I see this in my work, we consult with people to ensure that most are happy with our proposals then one person undemocratically tries to overturn this at planning by claiming ignorance of our proposals. I do not want the area developed by anyone but I trust beyond green to show the others how to do it properly.

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    George Ezekial

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • "FARMLAND" the key word.!!Green fields for producing food,grazing and so on put under concrete forever !

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    Albert Cooper

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • WB We have more than one thing in common, we both live in N Walsham I couldn't agree more, the HUGE site by the railway station would accomodate a large perecntage of the housing on this plan and would have the advantage that this doesn't that there is a rail station right by it, so no need for 13 buses an hour and all the other claptrap, the transport is already there. There is a concern re the water though, but that applies equally to both sites.

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    Windless

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • It's beyond ridiculous to put this many houses in an area where the infrastructure is already creaking under the strain.

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    D. ROSS

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Building new more and more new houses solves problems no more than building more and more roads to ease congestion. It will do nothing to sovle the local housing shoratge, as new houses are mostly filled by those wishing to move out of an overcrowded London. It creates only more jobs for those who move into the new housing. The net result is more local overcrowding and a complete change of character of the area, unwanted and not asked for by the majority of the locals.The only true 'green' option is to call a halt on the building on greenfield sites and to reduce demand by reducing single occupancy households, in the same way that single occupancy of cars is frownd upon.

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    broadsman

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • oldowl, the argument about using the same amount of water as we did 30 years ago is pure fallacy used by developers and water companies and councils, there is nothing factually to back up this claim and even if it was true, let’s not forget we were nearly in dire straits environmentally this spring as the rivers and aquifers were drying up. We were then only saved by the skin of our teeth. So what happens if the same situation occurs again (and it will) when we have thousand more people living here and taking water? The only thing we use that is the same as it was 30 years ago is an archaic infrastructure especially where water and sewerage are concerned and £billions need to be spent to safeguard it, yet I see nothing happening. We are staring serious problems right in the face and when it does happen these people who make these decisions and sell their soul to the devil, will be long gone living in another country in the lap of luxury, at our expense.

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    John L Norton

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • GE and JLN GE. My advice, if wanted, is to NEVER trust any company, person, or being which uses the word GREEN as part of or all of its title. Green equals incomptence and wooly ideals in almost every case. JLN I completely agree re water, in our lifetimes, water will be much more of a problem than energy, which the Greenies seem to perpetually lose sleep over. So, where DOES the water come from, and, if another 7000 water users move into the area, does that mean that the rest of us have less, of course it does!

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    Windless

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • If Norfolk County Council are behind the scheme, the people of Sprowston will have a fight on their hands. We had over 65,000 votes against the incinerator, and still they want to pollute the atmosphere over King's Lynn.

    Report this comment

    Barking

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Given that NCC are one of the landowners in this proposal, I assume that the decision to go ahead has already been made?

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    Big_Olly

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • What would you do if you and your partner worked all the hours, had to commute for more hours, had marketable skills like a nurse or a teacher but you and your children were stuck in a crime-ridden ghetto with low aspirational schools? Anyone would want to get out and improve their lot and give their kids a chance. To enjoy the countryside and the coasts of Norfolk. And guess what? Prices in Norfolk are peanuts compared to the South East. This is the reality for working people with transferable skills who dream of a better life away from street crime and decaying urban infrastructure. Its just typical of Norfolk to be insular, greedy and unwelcoming.You know what we should be doing is ADVERTISING what a great place this is and welcoming people. All for the sake of a few fields and a couple of retired dog ealkers.

    Report this comment

    oldowl

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • The reason these houses are being built "oldOWl" is to accomodate carpet bagging southerners who move to norfolk after selling their hosue "down south" at inflated prices..This in due course artificailly inflates the house prices in norfolk where there is no hihg paid work and where our young people cant afford to live in the county they were born in due to the carpet bagging profiteers. I am not a retired dog walker i am have two jobs as anyone from around here would know...yes Norfolk is insular and the sooner we get passport control on the a11 the better !

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    norfolk bird

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

  • I agree that developers should be pushed towards downtown brownfield sites. But I assume the cost of cleaning up contaminated land and a lack of demand perhaps leads them to expand into the countryside. I suppose those most against these plans are actually fighting similar-minded people who enjoy the countryside and want to bring up their families in a quiet crime-free environment. I have some sympathy for people trying to escape inner cities and wouldn't particularly miss some fields. I think the water argument is that we use the same amount of water in Norfolk that we did 30 years ago. Although the population has grown we individually use less due to meters and less wastage etc.

    Report this comment

    oldowl

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Another Thorpe Marriot !

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    Albert Cooper

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • I should have said "was Labour's "- I think the numbers for houses that should be built were drawn up in Labour's time in office and may still be those that councils are working to.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • This is stupidity. I strongly hope that this does not go ahead. Have NCC not learnt a jott from Q.Hills!?!? Regards, Whiley.

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    Whiley Boy

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • How about an incinerator instead? would that be acceptable in the North east of Norwich? cause Murphy is eye balling another 4 sites at least once he has the go ahead for the first one and it is a much better position than Costessy, just farmland, eager farmers who want to sell up, and a few villages downwind. I'm sure windless and windbag and wind up are all for it.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • It is Labour's assertion of need and their "order" that x number of homes should be built by a certain time that is the root of the problem-it gives the developers an excuse. The most important element is will there be work for the people who will occupy these houses or will they be needed by the children of those currently living in Norwich. If employment does not keep pace with population growth then those who can will move away and those who can't find a job wont be able to afford new homes.There is no reason why new developments like this should not be covenented-restricting occupation to those who have lived, have worked or have jobs to come to in the county.Including rental properties. Otherwise we know what will happen, the same that is happening to Yarmouth at the moment,where some people are complaining about housing shortages because they can only afford to rent, but others can't sell properties for love nor money and some new developments are filling up with social housing and buy to lets. Norfolk could well become a dumping ground to solve housing shortages in London and the South east.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • Chances are that many of the objectors are people who have moved to the area from elsewhere and dont want anyone else to follow. Norfolk is mostly wilderness, even if another 50,000 houses were built, it would still be mostly wilderness.

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    Abraham

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

  • When every sqaure inch of brownfield sites has been used up, and, if then, you still need more housing then the use of arable land may be acceptable. When you have used all brownfield sites you will then have a larger population, which needs to be fed, this is what arable land is for, feeding people, not housing them. Also, where does the water for these 7000+ people come from, and where do the 3000or so jobs come from? A final word, be VERY cautious of any use of the word GREEN, it is always bad news.

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    Windless

    Monday, November 19, 2012

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

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