Split views over plans for 350 homes on town's outskirts

Avril Smith at the woodland site behind the North Walsham Garden Centre which is under threat of bei

Avril Smith at the woodland site behind the North Walsham Garden Centre which is under threat of being removed for new housing. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Plans for 350 new homes in North Walsham's south have prompted a mixed response from residents, with concerns raised over traffic, infrastructure and environmental impact.

But although some people at a consultation event for the Hopkins Homes scheme pointed out its drawbacks, others thought it would be a positive development for the town. 

People at the Hopkins Homes consultation event at the community centre in New Road, North Walsham. 

People at the Hopkins Homes consultation event at the community centre in New Road, North Walsham. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Avril Smith, nearby resident, said she opposed plans to transform an area of woodland next to North Walsham Garden Centre on Nursery Drive - part of the site earmarked for the homes between Norwich Road and the A149. 

She said she felt she had not been listened to, although she was representing around 700 people who had signed a petition against the loss of the woodland. 

She said: "They want to take out wood and replace with open area and leave a strip of land which hardly has any trees, just brambles, which could be 'biodiverse' in 40 years."

A map of the proposed development south of Norwich Road in North Walsham.

A map of the proposed development south of Norwich Road in North Walsham. - Credit: Hopkins Homes

Another resident, Marie Peacock, said the development could be positive if there were enough natural features such as trees and ponds included, while another neighbour, John Gubb, said he liked the design of the homes.

Mr Gubb said: “I think it's good news, but we need more facilities for medical, dental, schooling.”

Around 100 people were at the consultation at the town's New Road community centre on Tuesday. 

A board showing the layout of the new scheme, which was on show at the consultation event.

A board showing the layout of the new scheme, which was on show at the consultation event. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

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Chris Criscione, Hopkins spokesman, said they were undertaking a "comprehensive survey" of the trees at the site, and would also work with the county council to resolve any concerns around highways and education. 

Mr Criscione said: "Because they are trees doesn't mean they have great ecological value - in fact there are some trees on site that are poor and some that are unsafe. 

"We’re proposing an enormous amount of open space in proportion to the site, and new planting of good value to biodiversity and the ecology of the local area.”

The woodland site behind the North Walsham Garden Centre which is under threat of being removed for

The woodland site behind the North Walsham Garden Centre which is under threat of being removed for new housing. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The site, which wraps around the garden centre and includes fields to its north and south, was earmarked for development in North Norfolk District Council's local plan in May 2019.

Hopkins' vision includes green space and allotments, as well as elderly care accommodation.

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