Concerns for Saham Mere if proposed homes get go ahead

Saham Toney from the air

Saham Toney from the air - Credit: Archant

A lake which has seen human occupation on its shores for thousands of years faces being 'obscured' by a new housing development, objectors have claimed.

The proposals to build 19 homes on land adjacent to Parker's Piece Primary School in Saham Toney are due to be considered by Breckland Council on January 9.

However, concerns have been raised about the implications for one of the area's most stunning natural features, Saham Mere, which lies south of the development site.

In a letter of objection from Saham Toney Parish Council, parish clerk Jill Glenn said building the development on the greenfield site – which lies outside the settlement boundary – would 'obscure the panoramic view across to the mere which is one of this village's main characteristics'.

The body of water is estimated to be 12,000 years old and gives the village its name, which literally means 'settlement by the mere'.

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Resident Brian Mitchell wrote in an article for the Saham Saga village magazine that there is 'little evidence of any formal archaeological survey of the land between Pound Hill and the mere', which is believed to have a history of occupation stretching back 60,000 years.

The parish council is in the process of compiling a neighbourhood plan which it felt 'consideration should be given to'.

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Concerns have also raised about drainage from the site after the village saw extensive flooding during heavy rain last summer, and about the impacts of increased traffic on Pound Hill, especially around school times.

Breckland Council's draft local plan states Saham Toney does not have all local facilites needed for designation as a local service centre, despite previously being designated as such in its superseded core strategy.

A design and access statement for the development from Parsons and Whittley Architects says the site forms part of a larger site off Pound Hill which had been identified as suitable for up to 100 homes, but the proposed development on a 'significantly smaller area' offers a 'more sustainable development appropriate to the size of the settlement'.

It added that the size of the settlement had been influenced following discussions with the local authority.

The application shows a total of 19 detached, semi-detached and terraced dwellings. All matters on the outline application area reserved except access, which will be from Pound Hill.

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