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'It's heartbreaking and cruel' - residents fight to protect community from 177-home development

PUBLISHED: 12:06 12 September 2019

Norman and Wendy Brown in their garden in Woodpecker Drive which borders the new 177 home development site. Photo: Emily Thomson

Norman and Wendy Brown in their garden in Woodpecker Drive which borders the new 177 home development site. Photo: Emily Thomson

Emily Thomson (staff)

When Wendy and Norman Brown bought their home, they fell in love with its view over fields that are a haven for wildlife.

Wendy and Norman Brown, and Ken Gibb outside of their homes in Woodpecker Drive which borders the new 177 home development site. Photo: Emily ThomsonWendy and Norman Brown, and Ken Gibb outside of their homes in Woodpecker Drive which borders the new 177 home development site. Photo: Emily Thomson

But now the couple, and others who live near to a proposed 177-home development in Watton, say the beauty and peace of the area will be cruelly taken away from them.

While outline planning permission was granted to Tesni Properties in 2017 following a planning appeal, the company has now submitted a "reserved matters" application which contains more detail about the exact layout of the new homes on land next to Woodpecker Drive and Mallard Road.

And the Browns, who are 75 and 76, have vowed to make "the best of a bad situation", so the new homes will have a minimal effect on those who already live in the community.

Mrs Brown said: "When we bought this house, we fell in love with the area. Our home looks out onto land which is a haven for wildlife. It's beautiful and peaceful.

The ending of Woodpecker Drive, where the new 177 home development will be built in Watton. Photo: Emily ThomsonThe ending of Woodpecker Drive, where the new 177 home development will be built in Watton. Photo: Emily Thomson

"So it's heartbreaking and cruel that this is going to be taken away from us. They may have won and the development will be built but I'm going to make my voice heard."

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Mrs Brown has already fought against having a three-storey block of flats outside her bungalow, with the flats now planned for another area of the site.

But she also wants to ensure there is no work on Sundays and Bank Holidays, dust and rubble is cleared, there are lower speed limits, fencing outside of their home, pedestrian crossings and improved roads to cope with increased traffic and heavy vehicles.

A meeting was held at Watton Town Council on September 10, where details of the 177-home development were discussed with members of the public.

Peter Bishop, Watton Town Councillor, said: "We are going to arrange a public meeting of the residents and the planning officers because we are concerned about a number of issues with this development.

"I empathise with these residents. A large development for a small market town like us doesn't do anybody favours. The infrastructure in the town can't cope with it."

Mrs Brown said: "We all know each other around here and look after each other and we are going to be dramatically affected by this."

Tesni Properties was contacted but declined to comment.

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