Concern that vital link road will not be completed as part of Brook Farm development in Thorpe St Andrew
- Credit: Mike Page
There are concerns that a 'vital' link road will not be completed as part of a 600-home development in Thorpe St Andrew.
Lothbury Property Trust was granted permission to build new homes at Brook Farm and Laurel Farm on Green Lane in June 2013.
Along with an extension to Broadland Business Park, the application included the provision of a link road connecting Peachman Way through to Plumstead Road East.
It would replace Green Lane, which will become closed to traffic.
But in plans submitted to Broadland District Council the trust is now seeking permission to phase the road's construction.
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It means that up to 270 homes could be built off Plumstead Road East and occupied before it is completed.
The move has led to some parish councils questioning whether the road will ever be finished.
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Objecting to the application, Great and Little Plumstead Parish Council said: 'Chopping the road up into a phased delivery provides no security at all and its requirement becomes open ended against different development sites.'
'It proposes two large cul-de-sacs for years to come with no timescales or guarantees for the delivery of the missing link.'
Thorpe End Garden Village Residents' Association, meanwhile, said the proposals push the 'vital' piece of infrastructure into the 'very, very long grass.'
The application will go before Broadland's planning committee on July 12 after being called in by cabinet member Shaun Vincent.
He was concerned that variations to the application's conditions will not hold the developer to completing the link road.
The officer's report states that the road is not financially viable at present as Network Rail holds a 'significant ransom' on its part of the land.
It is suggested that by phasing the link road and selling off parcels of land for development, it will lower the ransom.
The report added: 'Whilst this does not guarantee that the link road will be completed in its entirety, it makes it very unlikely that the applicant would walk away from the site without completing it.
'The reason for this is that there would still be permission in place for a further 330 dwellings.'
The application has been recommended for approval.
What Lothbury had to say
Adam Smith, director of Lothbury Investment Management said: 'Lothbury is 100pc committed to completing the link road. We have made that commitment and will keep to it. The link road will cost many millions of pounds to build and Lothbury has been working on the project for many years, with no capital receipts.
'Developing some housing prior to the major expense and time delay involved in the building of a bridge over the railway line has to be economic good sense. This is especially the case when officers at both Broadland District Council and Norfolk County Council support this case as not compromising environmental principals.
'The current proposal also restricts Lothbury to building less than half of the consented scheme. It is therefore very much in Lothbury's best interests to reach speedy agreements with other stakeholders to enable the entire scheme to be completed, including the road.'