Developers launch bid to build 200 new homes in Sculthorpe
- Credit: Ian Burt
Sculthorpe Village Action group has teamed up with the times to launch a Save Our Sculthorpe campaign.
It claims the Sculthorpe Green development would double the size of the village and change the face of the tiny rural community forever.
Indigo Planning, consultants for the developers, say Sculthorpe Green would help ease north Norfolk's housing crisis and allow a larger village school to be built. The consultants say it is a good location to provide housing for the Fakenham area.
But North Norfolk District council has not included the site in its development plans, which instead predict 800 new homes will be built on the northern outskirts of Fakenham far closer to essential services. And Norfolk County Council says that the village does not currently need a new school.
Indigo Planning has applied for planning permission to build 71 homes and access roads on the site on behalf of owners the Amstel Group Corporation.
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Documents accompanying the application say it is also seeking outline permission for a further 129 homes and a new primary school.
Tony Walters, chair of Sculthorpe Parish Council, said: 'We have been advised that the planning application for 200 houses has been submitted by Indigo Planning, for the field in the centre of the village of Sculthorpe.
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'The parish council is aware that the vast majority of residents are against the application for a number of reasons, the major one being that the road network around the whole site is inadequate, totally inadequate.'
An action group has been formed in the village to campaign against the development.
Spokesman Jill Payne said: 'Our group has been formed after the community got together to raise awareness of the application for an estate of 200 houses on the field right in the centre of our village.
'We believe that this historic, countryside village with its open views and wildlife will lose its unique character and appearance if such a plan was allowed to go forward. We are ready to fight for that cause.'
Villager Trish valentine said: 'This development of Sculthorpe would severely and adversely impact upon the character of our lovely village. The doubling of local traffic would make the surrounding roads hazardous.'
Neighbour Robert Francis added: 'It's difficult to contemplate the destruction of our village and the life we chose to live. The whole project is unsustainable.'
Villager Ron Wells said: 'We've lived here peacefully for 47 years and we don't want to spend the rest of our lives next to a building site.'
In a design and access statement submitted alongside the planning application, Indigo admits residents were concerned at the number of houses proposed when it held a public consultation in March.
But it adds: 'There continues to be an over-riding need for housing in north Norfolk
and the Fakenham area generally. With North Norfolk District Council not providing sufficient housing including affordable housing, the amount of housing proposed remains appropriate.
'As a result of the consultation, the application will be limited to 200 houses and the development will be phased, with 71 homes forming Phase One.'
A further statement reveals Indigo met with council planning officials for talks in September.
It admits developers were told they would be 'unlikely' to support the scheme because it would 'represent a departure from current development plan policy'.
Planners also said there was already an adequate supply of housing land in the area and the application site was not a 'sustainable' location.