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Jonathan Smales, left, executive chairman of Beyond Green, and Neil Murphy, director of planning, at Beeston Hall Park which will be a country park in part of their planned 3,520 houses development in North Sprowston and Old Catton (NS&OC). Picture: Denise Bradley
Friday, October 5, 2012
Developers insist plans for thousands of new houses to the north of Sprowston and Old Catton can be successful despite the tough economic conditions.
People will get a first-look at Beyond Green’s latest ideas for land north of Norwich when the plans go on show at Sprowston’s Diamond Centre from tomorrow.
In short, the plan is to provide 3,520 houses, ensure no-one has to walk more than 400 metres to buy a newspaper or a pint of milk, and provide regular buses in and out of Norwich.
The initial aim is for bus services to Norwich every 30 minutes, reduced to every 15 minutes then every five minutes.
Studies also suggest at least 1,000 jobs could be created in businesses in the new community or because of the new community.
Jonathan Smales, executive chairman of Beyond Green, said: “Norwich is a pretty resilient economy and at its core it’s a very attractive place for people to live, with some of the fantastic things we’ve been talking about - the medieval centre, the Broads.
“If we can add to that what a lot of people have spoken to us about, and what is at the heart of Broadland District Council’s strategy, the green economy, energy technologies, different types of transport and building, this can become a real centre of excellence.
“In that regard, a real showcase for how it can be possible, without it being weird and strange and instead being a lovely place.”
A new park will be created in the grounds of Beeston Hall, while future ideas for the building, not included in the planning application, involve using it for bike hire, tea halls, conference facilities and/or a hotel.
The developer says its aim is to create plenty of green space while also finding ways of encouraging people to use alternatives to cars.
A new east-west high street through the development, which could later form an orbital route between Broadland Business Park, east of Norwich, and Norwich Airport Industrial Estate, to the north, is also suggested.
North Walsham Road could also change so vehicles are directed through a new main square in North Sprowston and Old Catton. The name for the community is not final.
It is expected 33pc of the properties will fall into the affordable housing category while Beyond Green says it will seek to offer long-term rental agreements and shared ownership deals.
This, the company says, means they will continue to develop the community rather than take-off once the building work is complete.
A planning application is expected to be submitted to Broadland District Council next week - and it will take 15 to 20 years for the project to be completed if approved.
The proposal is just one that will come forward for the Greater Norwich area due to a document known as the joint core strategy.
This outlines proposals for 37,000 houses in Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland by 2026.
Up to 10,000 houses are earmarked for Broadland, but this part of the document has not been adopted after it was successfully challenged by Stop Norwich Urbanisation (Snub) in the High Court.
Beyond Green has asked Broadland not to make a decision on its application until the JCS has been finalised.
Stephen Heard, chairman of Snub, said he welcomed another idea to the debate on how and where housing should develop in and around the city.
But he said the JCS and the northern bypass (NDR), from Postwick to the A1067 Fakenham Road, were “joined at the hip”, with all aspects and designs needed to be considered as one.
Mr Heard said this is because if one part of it does not happen as planned, such as the NDR, it will raise questions about the overall development of housing in the area.
He said: “It’s in the mix of one of the potential solutions to the housing need. We’ve always said that. Whether it’s the right solution or appropriate solution is difficult to say until the consultation on the JCS is completed.”
Interested parties, including councils and pressure groups, will have a chance to see the plans today at a meeting at the King’s Centre, in King Street, Norwich.
Bradley Sabberton-Coe, chairman of Old Catton Parish Council, said: “It will be interesting to see what alterations they have made.”
Bill Couzens, Sprowston Central councillor at Broadland and a member of the town council, is planning to visit today and said: “Looking at their plans, they seem to have some quite ambitious plans, which I hope if they do come to fruition will be good.
“We do need the housing. It’s always unfortunate we lose the fields but we do need the housing as well.”
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said it is “absolutely clear” new houses were needed as people are struggling to find places to live.
She said: “The truth is, however, any development needs to be done very sensitively because it is a community matter, a democratic matter and people should have their say.”
Miss Smith added it is important the infrastructure - both roads and services, such as schools - provide for people in any new settlements.
The public exhibition will take place at the Diamond Centre, in School Lane, Sprowston, between 10am and 5pm tomorrow and 10am and 4pm on Sunday.
To view an artist’s impression of what the development will look like, see the photo gallery at the top right of this page.