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Our community needs a plan for the future, villagers decide

PUBLISHED: 15:41 23 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:01 01 March 2019

Villagers outside the mill in Stoke ferry, which could be demolished to make way for new homes  Pictures: Chris Bishop

Villagers outside the mill in Stoke ferry, which could be demolished to make way for new homes Pictures: Chris Bishop

Archant

A community needs affordable homes and facilities, villagers agreed today.

Villagers at the public consultation event at Stoke Ferry  Picture: Chris BishopVillagers at the public consultation event at Stoke Ferry Picture: Chris Bishop

A public consultation meeting was held at Stoke Ferry, near Downham Market, over plans to develop two feed mill sites in the village.

Outline plans have been drawn up for 30 homes on the site of the storage building and car park at Stoke Ferry Mill on Furlong Road.

A separate application for a further 70 properties is expected for the mill itself, on nearby Lynn Road.

But villagers fear both will become filled with “anywhere homes”, turning Stoke Ferry into a commuter village for Cambridge.

Katy Fullilove with some of the villagers' thoughts  Picture: Chris BishopKaty Fullilove with some of the villagers' thoughts Picture: Chris Bishop

At the village hall, around 100 voiced their views on what the village needed. Affordable homes were just one of the issues raised.

Community garden co-ordinator Katy Fullilove, 30, said the community’s wish-list also included a community market garden, green space and allotments.

“The proposal is to build on the greenfield as well as the brownfield,” she said. “A lot of opeople think it shouldn’t be built on.”

Another issue which was highlighted was the lack of a community focal point or meeting place, in a village which long ago lost its last pub.

Sandra McNeil, one of ther organisers of the meeting  Picture: Chris BishopSandra McNeil, one of ther organisers of the meeting Picture: Chris Bishop

Sandra McNeil, one of the organisers of the meeting, said: “We don’t want a situation where housing will be dumped in the village without any thought about what the village needs.

“One thing I’ve learned from today is there are a lot of elderly people saying there’s nothing for them to do. It’s really about a vision for the village.”

Neil Aldridge said proposals to move the mill to a site near Bury St Edmunds would impact on local farmers, who would have to pay more to deliver their grain to it.

In a planning statement, developer Amber REI said: “At present the northern approach to the village is characterised by the industrial structures associated with the storage facility.

“These are out of keeping with the character of the rest of the village and, due to its location, form a prominent feature on the approach to the village.”

West Norfolk councillors are expected to make a decision on the scheme in April or May.

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