Villagers’ anger over homes plans for Hethersett

Villagers in Hethersett have voiced their anger at proposals to expand their community by building almost 1,200 homes on greenfield land.

The public were invited to a drop-in meeting on Saturday to survey and comment on the outline application, which has been submitted to South Norfolk Council by Hethersett Land and Landowners.

Feedback forms were collected and residents were asked to place a flag in a map to show where they lived.

Half-way through the four-hour session, more than 150 flags had been planted in the map, and opinions had been collected from almost every area of the village, south of Norwich.

All the information will be collated by Hethersett Parish Council before it makes its formal response to the proposals.

Parish council chairman John Nightingale said: 'What we are doing is trying to get an unbiased opinion. We don't want to be accused of prejudice or nimbyism.

'We are trying to maintain an open stance and follow what the village wants. Development will happen, there's no question – it is just a question how, when and to what quality.'

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Norma McEwen, 64, from St John's Close, said: 'I am overwhelmed by the scale. I am overwhelmed by the density. 'I am concerned, like most people, of the fact we can only get a doctor's appointment six weeks in advance as it is, so what will happen when we have all these new people? I cannot even think about what the traffic might be like and how children might get to school.

'We moved here from north Norwich 25 years ago and we knew it was expanding, but it was still a village and that's what we wanted. Now we are approaching a time when it looks like we may have to move again.'

55-year-old builder Alan Jeffries moved to New Road 12 years ago. He said: 'I am disgusted. It is going to nearly double the size of the village and I don't think we have the infrastructure to support that.

'New Road will become an arterial road. I have already lost six cats which have been killed on that road and this will just make the situation worse.

'If I wanted to live in a town I would have moved to a town. We accept the need for some new housing, but this is just ridiculous.'

David Smedmor, 60, from Glengarry Close, said: 'It is just a sprawl and it seems to have taken in Little Melton, which would lose its identity completely. It is just too much – I'm still trying to take it all in.'

The development plans also contain community facilities including a primary school, shops, business units, an extension to the Thickthorn Park and Ride site and a new dedicated slip road from the A11.

The proposals pre-empt the conclusion of South Norfolk's Local Development Framework (LDF), through which the district council will allocate sites for more than 9,000 new homes in the district during the next 15 years.

Hethersett is earmarked for 1,000 new homes in the Joint Core Strategy adopted by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP).