New 665-home estate would ‘harm’ famous Norfolk castle Historic England warns
PUBLISHED: 17:45 29 July 2020
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Heritage body Historic England has raised concerns over a countryside development of 665 homes and the effect it would have on a landmark castle if approved.
It is worried about a “change in the setting” which would cause harm to the monument - reputedly the home of Shakespeare’s Falstaff and one of the finest examples of early brickwork in Britain.
The estate, called Magnolia Gardens, is being planned by Persimmon Homes on land west of Jack Chase Way in Caister, some 530m from the castle and its collection of vintage cars.
The bid has been trimmed from 725 to 665 homes and has been billed as a “natural extension” to the seaside village, one of the top-ten in demand for homes in the country according to Rightmove.
It includes provision for a new school, community centre, and health centre on the site which comprises two arable fields, part of Nova Scotia Farm, and sits opposite another Persimmon development Beauchamp Grange which is still being built.
However, in papers submitted alongside the outline planning application Historic England has raised concerns about the effect of the homes on the high-status residence, designed to be seen in, and command views across, the landscape.
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It says it also has concerns about the remains of a Second World War gun battery which are said to have “a low level of significance” but according to the public body are “incredibly rare.”
Graffiti by Canadian soldiers stationed there during the conflict in nearby barns adds to the context and makes them more valuable, the letter says.
It goes on: “The proposed development will result in an increase in the overall mass of built development at Caister on Sea to the east of the scheduled monument and Grade I listed castle.
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“This would result in a change to the setting of the castle through the removal of part of the castle’s open landscape context in that direction.
“This change would cause some harm to the designated heritage asset.”
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It also asked for views from the tower to be considered, not just those from ground level.
Building a large residential development immediately in front of the gun houses was also an issue.
Caister Castle is one of the earliest brick residences to be built in Britain, dating from around 1432. Its first owner was Sir John Fastolf, reputedly the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Falstaff.
A 42-page built heritage statement submitted as part of the bid concluded the impact of the estate on the castle and nearby hall would be “towards the lower end of less than substantial harm” and outweighed the benefits.
Meanwhile Anglian Water says that while the sewerage system has capacity, the development “will lead to an unacceptable risk of flooding downstream”.
Highways has raised concerns, although does not object overall.
It has suggested a string of adjustments and notes the Norwich Road roundabout will be pushed close to 100pc capacity with queues likely under the present layout.
Numerous objections have been raised to the scheme, although some have written in support saying the new homes are crucial to the housing supply, helping local people to stay in their village and get on the property ladder.
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