650 new homes to be built on edge of Norwich

Land at Cringleford next to the A11 where new homes could be built.Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Land at Cringleford next to the A11 where new homes could be built.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A community is today facing up to news that a controversial homes scheme on the edge of Norwich has been given the go-ahead.

The proposal to build 650 homes in Cringleford had been turned down more than 18 months ago amid fierce opposition, but has now been approved following an appeal.

And that means a total of almost 1,500 homes could be built in the village – a figure which parish council chairman Malcolm Wagstaff said was more than the community wanted.

'The repercussions are that the whole of the belt of land between the A47 and Roundhouse Way and at the top of Cantley Lane will be entirely built up,' he said.

'There's going to be more traffic and the sort of connecting roads like Roundhouse Way will probably come to a standstill more frequently than now.

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'It already gets blocked morning and evening and it's only going to get worse, and people are not going to be happy about any of this.'

Plans for homes on farmland either side of the A11 and to the side of the existing Roundhouse Way development in Cringleford were turned down by South Norfolk Council's planning committee in July 2014. But Land Fund Limited - made up of a number of landowners - appealed against that decision - a move which triggered a public inquiry last summer.

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As well as the houses – a mix of one, two, three, four and five- bedroom homes – the developer wanted to provide up to 2.500 square metres of commercial floor space, which could have included restaurants, bars, shops or a GP surgery.

The planning committee refused to grant outline permission. Reasons included that part of the land proposed for the development would be needed to make improvements to the Thickthorn roundabout; that it was not acceptable that proposed playing pitches would be separated by the A11 and that not enough information had been provided about the impact of the retail element of the development on other areas.

And, following the inquiry, a planning inspector agreed with the developers and recommended that the appeal should be allowed.

Communities secretary Greg Clark has now backed that decision, so the appeal is allowed and the homes can be built.

The decision notice states: 'As the council cannot demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, the provision of 650 dwellings represents a substantial benefit and the fact that one third of these would be affordable units provides a further benefit.

'There would also be economic benefits including the provision of jobs; and environmental benefits in terms of the provision of public open space, the retention of key habitats and the provision of landscaping.

'The main harm identified by the council relates to the fact that one of the options for the improvement of Thickthorn Junction would not be able to be pursued, but the Secretary of State is satisfied that particular option has no development plan status and that alternative solutions would be available if required.'

The decision means Cringleford is set for a huge expansion. After the Land Fund application was turned down, Barratt Eastern Counties was given outline permission for 800 homes on land off Newfound Farm, which the parish council had vigorously opposed.

• Do you think more homes are needed in and around Norwich? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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