After 40 years, scheme for 1,000 homes on edge of Norwich gets go-ahead

Council officer Gwyn Jones and councillor Bert Bremner at the Three Score development site at Bowtho

Council officer Gwyn Jones and councillor Bert Bremner at the Three Score development site at Bowthorpe. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2011

Work to build a thousand new homes on the edge of Norwich, the final piece in a jigsaw which has gone uncompleted for four decades, will start next year after city councillors granted planning permission for the houses.

Norwich City Council had applied to its own planning committee for permission to redevelop the Three Score site, south of Clover Hill.

And members of the city council's planning committee yesterday unanimously approved the scheme, which city council leader Brenda Arthur hailed as a boost for those in need of a home but also for the local construction industry.

The scheme includes up to 1,000 homes, a care home, a new village centre with at least one shop and a public open space.

The city council snapped up 502 acres of land at Bowthorpe in a £9.5m deal 40 years ago. But while Clover Hill and Chapel Break were developed, much of Three Score remained on the drawing board.

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Through a partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency, the city council came up with fresh plans for the site.

But people living nearby raised concerns about a bus route through the development, saying it could put children at risk and passengers on double decker buses would be able to see into their homes and gardens.

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Sandra Rawlins, speaking on behalf of almost 40 residents at yesterday's meeting, said: 'We have got no objection against the homes, we have always known they would be coming. But we were always led to believe the buses would go from the roundabout at Bishy Barnabee Way.'

She said people were concerned that their children, who play in nearby fields, would have to cross the road which buses will use. And she added: 'We will have double decker buses sitting at the bottom of our gardens, able to see into our gardens, conservatories and bedrooms.'

However, Gwyn Jones, the council's city growth and development manager, said: 'This is a really important strategic site for the city and in providing housing in the city.

'Without this Norwich and Greater Norwich would not meet its housing targets set in the Joint Core Strategy.

'It's also really important for the council because it is part of our partnership with the Homes and Conmunities Agency.

'Proceeds from development will be reinvested into housing regeneration projects elsewhere in the city.'

Officers said they did not believe the buses presented safety issues and there were other examples in the city of buses passing people's gardens.

Although the committee approved the plans, councillors agreed to request that the bus lane position be reconsidered.

The development would include one and two bedroom flats and two, three and four bedroom houses.

Almost 50 of the homes would be the first council homes built in Norwich for the best part of two decades and Brenda Arthur, city council leader, said: 'The council and HCA partnership has as its key priority the provision of homes and jobs to the city because this is what matters most to residents.

'The homes we need are a real mix - from those to be rented privately, to those for people on the social housing register to others for families looking to buy their first home - and this development looks at going a long way to meeting this need.

'Building these homes will also give a meaningful boost to the jobs market including demonstrating our commitment to making sure at least 10 per cent of the contractor workforce will be made up of either young people breaking into the jobs market or those who have been unemployed.'

The city council has agreed to look again at the bus lane issue and, within a matter of months people will be consulted on detailed designs for phase one of the development.

The council said those designs will have to be submitted for approval, but after that the main roads, and the first homes, could get underway early next year.

It is estimated it will take between 10 and 12 years for all the homes to be built.

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