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Controversial plans to build 55 homes in Wensum Valley

PUBLISHED: 11:52 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 20 June 2019

Proposed site for controversial new homes south of Fakenham. Pictures: Planning documents

Proposed site for controversial new homes south of Fakenham. Pictures: Planning documents

Archant

Controversial plans to build up to 55 homes on a pasture field in the Wensum Valley are included in a district council's draft local plan.

Proposed sites for development - in red - in Fakenham in NNDC Local Plan. Pictures: Planning documentsProposed sites for development - in red - in Fakenham in NNDC Local Plan. Pictures: Planning documents

North Norfolk District Council has earmarked land south of Barons Close, to the south of Fakenham, for development.

It would comprise 1.5 hectares for 35 to 55 dwellings including affordable homes and 2.6 hectares of public open space, and associated infrastructure.

The greenfield site is located within the River Valleys landscape character area, and the river is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

James Wilson, from Moor Lane, Sculthorpe, said residents and nature conservation organisations were concerned.

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He said: "The consultation process seems to be not widely known. Someone who had been to one of the presentations at Fakenham asked me if I knew that they proposed to build in the Wensum Valley floor on that lovely pasture field next to Barons Hall. I was incredulous and investigated a bit further and found it was true.

"The site has caused concern from local residents and several nature conservation organisations. It is in the valley floor on a parcel of land which is currently used for grazing and which is close to the River Wensum Special Area of Conservation.

"Equally importantly people need to know that contacting their local district councillor is vital, as they will have the last say on which sites are included in the Local Plan."

The Fakenham Conservation Team said it was concerned that the proposed development would "further erode the fragile and valuable connective habitats that are the Jewel in the Crown of Fakenham along the Wensum Valley that contains the River Wensum Special Area of Conservation".

They are also concerned it could impact on tourism to the area and the special value of the nearby nationally important wildlife sites of Sculthorpe (Hawk and Owl) reserve and Pensthorpe Natural Park, both of which are part of the interconnected wildlife habitat system along the valley floor.

The Local Plan says that the site is suitable and available for development, and is in single ownership. For more information and to comment on the plans, visit https://consult.north-norfolk.gov.uk/portal/planning/

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