Residents’ fears over 1,000 homes bid for Hellesdon golf course

PUBLISHED: 08:59 04 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:00 04 February 2014

The Royal Norwich Golf Club at Hellesdon, where developers are proposing to build a thousand houses. Golfers crossing the busy Drayton High Road. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Royal Norwich Golf Club at Hellesdon, where developers are proposing to build a thousand houses. Golfers crossing the busy Drayton High Road. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2014

Residents fear plans to build 1,000 homes on a Hellesdon golf course would cause traffic problems and overload schools and surgeries.

The Royal Norwich Golf Club’s course in Drayton High Road would become a housing estate under the proposals, with the club moving seven miles away to Weston Park Golf Club, near Lenwade.

Developer Persimmon has reached agreement with Royal Norwich Golf Club and owners of Weston Park, Goymour Properties, but they face a series of hurdles to win planning permission.

Adrian Myhill, captain of Royal Norwich Golf Club, explained: “This is a fantastic one-off opportunity for our members to develop a club fit for the 21st century. Selling our land at Hellesdon will give us a unique opportunity to produce facilities of the highest order.”

But some nearby homeowners have vowed to object to any plans.

Clive Lansdale, of Low Road, said: “The road is hugely busy here and 1,000 houses would be way too much.

“It’s services as well, sewerage and everything else. I’m not very keen.”

The 59-year-old engineer added: “It was always agreed that there would never be any building on the golf course.”

He feared there would not be enough school places to meet demand from a new estate and had concerns over flood risk.

Kevin O’Grady, 63, of Low Road, branded the plan “bonkers”.

He is a member of Hellesdon Speedwatch Group and claimed up to 400 cars per hour go past St Mary’s Church in Low Road.

The father of two said: “It’s bonkers – totally crass.

“Why build 1,000 there? Build 20 in villages. It doesn’t impact on infrastructure then.”

He claimed roads were choked up from 7.30am onwards, and without major improvements could not cope with increased volume of traffic.

Albert Pyke, 83, of Trilithon Close, agreed that traffic problems had worsened in recent years.

Shelagh Gurney, county councillor for Hellesdon, said: “I think any local development in Hellesdon has to be supported by a very robust proposal for infrastructure.

“My concerns about this proposal in particular is we’re losing one of the green open spaces on the fringe of Norwich.

“It’s quite regrettable and I’m concerned about traffic issues, particularly on Drayton High Road and at the Asda junction.”

She added doctors’ facilities and school places could be put under pressure, and plans needed very vareful consideration.

Sale of the 120-acre golf course in Drayton High Road is hoped to fund a multi-million pound investment at Weston Park. About 400 members of the Royal Norwich Golf Club, which was founded in 1893, are set to vote on the proposals on February 21.

Martin Goymour, managing director of Goymour Properties, which owns Weston Park, said he expected the planning process to take between 18 months and three years.

He said the investment in the Weston Park site could include new changing rooms, a new clubhouse and an extra nine holes on the course.

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