December 9 2013 Latest news:
Martin George and David Freezer
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
More than a dozen children chanting “Keep Trowse Special” have led a demonstration against plans for new housing and a new primary school which residents fear could ruin the area.
Trowse owes much of its current charm to the Colman family, of mustard fame.
The village was one of a handful of “model villages” set up around the country by enlightened Victorian industrialists to look after their employees from cradle to grave.
According to a conservation area character appraisal for the village, the family “believed it was their duty to preserve their workers from sin and squalor and to set them on the path of virtue and self-improvement, while also noting that a contented work force was a hard working one”.
The family built terraced houses for their workers and semi-detached ones for their foremen, and in 1870 they built the present village school and a Congregational Chapel.
The document continues: “The fabric of the village has changed relatively little during the twentieth century. The most significant development has been the recent completion of the Trowse Bypass together with the Norwich Southern Bypass in 1992, allowing the village to become, once again, a pleasant place in which to live, after a half-century of ever increasing pollution by through traffic.”
Councillor Trevor Lewis, who represents the area on South Norfolk Council, and also lives in the village, said: “It’s a minor miracle in that it is still a village that is surrounded by fields, that has maintained its village identity, despite being within walking distance of the centre of Norwich.”
About 80 people marched through Trowse, the small village just east of Norwich, towards County Hall yesterday afternoon, to show their concern about planning applications for 231 homes in the village, in addition to 670 already given outline planning permission for nearby sites.
The village was due to be earmarked for an allocation of 250 new homes by 2026 under South Norfolk District Council’s local plan, although that figure is set to fall to nearer 160 in modified proposals due to be consulted on later this month.
The plans for new housing have led to proposals for a new bigger school to the replace the current one, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, and it could be built on the current allotments.
Campaigner Joss Guin said: “Trowse is a very special village. It’s a conservation area. It’s loved by the people of Norwich, as well as the people who live there, because it’s a small village and people come here to walk the dog, run or take their kids for a walk.”
South Norfolk council leader John Fuller said Trowse was not being singled out for special treatment, and other areas were also due to receive large numbers of homes.
However, Mr Guin added: “The point is the proportion. No where else is being asked to triple in size in a conservation area loved by the people of Norwich, where they can get out of the grey and get into the green.”
The protesters yesterday sang a modified version of All things Bright and Beautiful, including the verse “Trowse is small and beautiful, please save from urban sprawl, Trowse is small and beautiful, please listen to our calls”.
Trowse resident Zoe Grove said: “I think Trowse is a really unique place. There are few places around the county where you still have that sense of community where everyone looks out for each others’ children.”
Others raised fears the proposed developments were out of character with the area, and would greatly increase traffic.
Mr Fuller said: “In terms of allocating land in south Norfolk, Trowse has not been singled out for special treatment, Mulbarton is getting 180 homes, Poringland 800, Wymondham 2,200, Costessey and Easton 800 so the land growth to Trowse is measured and a lot less than the 250 initially proposed.”
He said existing school did not have capacity for the new school children the new homes would bring, and it would not be acceptable for children to have to walk all the way down Martineau Lane to Lakenham Primary.
He added: “When the decision was made on the Deal Ground by the city council (for 670 homes between Whitlingham and Trowse) it materially changed the need for education in the area, so we need to make sure there is sufficient land so that all children in the area can get a good start in life, but is the county council that has decided where that school should be (in Trowse).
“If people are saying they don’t want to close their primary school, that’s an argument they need to have with the county council.
“I’ve had a lot of letters and read them all and responses are going out, and I understand the strength of feeling, but fewer houses and a new primary school is not too bad.”