Thorpe’s Pinebanks development recommended to go ahead with just one access road

People living in the area are unhappy about the decision. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

People living in the area are unhappy about the decision. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A major housing development in Thorpe St Andrew could go ahead with just one access point to the site, instead of two, despite 102 letters and emails of objection from nearby families.

Although Pinebanks landowner Berliet already has planning permission to build 231 homes on the site, a legal wrangle means it is applying to change the plans so the development can be completed with just one access road for the new estate, off Hillcrest Road.

It emerged last month that another developer, Taylor Wimpey, owns a legal covenant covering the other planned access point at Henby Way.

Ocubis, development manager for Berliet, is keen to get started on building at the old Norwich Union sports centre while it waits to resolve the legal wrangle.

The planning change would still make it possible to create a second access point at a later date.

However, families living in and near Hillcrest Road are concerned it would lead to increased traffic and have a negative impact on highway safety in the area.

Thorpe St Andrew Town Council and Broadland District councillors John Fisher and Ian Mackie have opposed the application, with Mr Mackie saying: 'The volume of traffic in my opinion would be too great based on one exit and entrance and unneighbourly on an already busy residential road at capacity.'

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Families fear nearby road junctions are not adequate to cope with the additional traffic and that verges along Hillcrest Road are already damaged by vehicles which use them to get round parked cars.

They believe this would be exacerbated by construction traffic. Philip Clay, who lives in Hillcrest Road, said: 'I'm very disappointed.

'Everyone on Hillcrest Road, and I have spoken to a lot of people, is up in arms about it. There are a few points in the report that are inaccurate and a few points in there that are open for discussion.

'We are certainly not beaten and will continue to fight.'

The amendment will go before Broadland planners on Wednesday, April 8, and planning officers are recommending the change to just one access point is approved.

They say figures predict the single access road (as opposed to two access roads) would lead to an extra 78 vehicles per hour at peak times in the morning and 89 vehicles an hour at peak time in the evening. The highways authority considers this to be a 'very light' increase.

The report to be considered by Broadland District Council's planning committee acknowledges that Berliet is 'potentially in a ransom situation' if it cannot resolve the matter.

Do you have a story about Thorpe? Call reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772474.