Concerns over proposed changes to 3,500 home development in Old Catton and Sprowston
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Fears are today being voiced about the pressure on local services if developers are allowed to change their plans for a major housing project north of Norwich.
More than 3,500 homes, two primary schools, shops and restaurants are planned for a new development near Old Catton and Sprowston, called Beeston Park.
It was initially envisaged the homes would be built along-side various essential local services in the market square area of the development.
But Beyond Green Developments has submitted a new application to Broadland District Council changing the order of the project.
The variation seeks permission to build around 700 homes north of Old Catton before the rest of the development moves ahead.
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When outline planning permission was previously granted, the Old Catton phase was due to be the constructed towards the end.
Councillors have now raised concerns about how the existing infrastructure will cope with potentially more than 1,000 new people moving in.
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Bill Couzens, councillor for Sprowston Central Ward, added: 'The issue is we are not going to get the services if they are starting at the Catton end. There will be shops, but what you don't have is the infrastructure. We have got schools under pressure, doctors surgeries are under pressure and there is a lack of jobs in the area. They will be building these houses without the associated infrastructure around them.'
The first phase of the scheme would see a new primary school, and around 112,000 square metres of open space.
A variety of junction improvements would also be constructed before the main development work went ahead.
With a second separate housing application for at least 225 homes east of Spixworth Road, more than 1,000 houses could be built in the Catton area.
But space for a health centre and other commercial buildings would not be completed until the second phase.
Mike Bodkin, partner at Strutt and Parker, which is acting as the developers' agents, said the re-phasing was due to changes in the market.
Should the variation of conditions receive planning permission, he said development on phase one could begin in the spring of 2017.
But he added that there were no house builders on board with the project yet.
Overall, the entire development, described as a 'sustainable urban extension', is expected to take between 15 to 20 years.
Phase two will see the construction of the central large development around the 'market square', including commercial units.
A large green space, known as Beeston Country Park, will also be created, and North Walsham Road will be re-routed.
The entire development is located north of Sprowston and Old Catton, between Wroxham Road and St Faiths Road.
Judy Leggett, Norfolk County Councillor for Old Catton and Sprowston West, added: 'The main concern is on the roads and I know residents are very concerned about medical services as well.
'I understand that currently there are long waiting times [for appointments] and they feel with more patients, they would not be able to give such a good service.'
Chief officer at NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group, Jo Smithson, said: 'Both the CCG and NHS England are well aware of the housing developments planned in different areas of Norwich. We are working with practices and local authorities to understand the implications of these.
'All practices in Norfolk are under very great pressure and this is the case in Norwich. Practices are working together to develop different and better ways of working in the future to ensure that primary care remains sustainable in Norwich. NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group is totally committed to supporting them in this.'