Campaigners win battle to stop industrial estate being built at Keswick, on edge of Norwich

The fields where a new industrial estate was proposed at Keswick. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The fields where a new industrial estate was proposed at Keswick. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Campaigners battling to stop an industrial estate from being built on field on the edge of Norwich have won their fight.

The application for land in Keswick, off Ipswich Road, close to the Tesco at Harford Bridge, was rejected by South Norfolk Council today.

Members of the council's planning committee voted by seven votes to four to refuse planning permission, despite officers having recommended approval.

Applicant MAHB had wanted to turn 27 acres of farmland - in a triangle between the A140 and the B1113 - into offices, industrial units and warehousing, with a proposed link road from the A140 to the B1113.

The applicants had said it would create more than 1,000 jobs.

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But the proposal proved controversial. A group of people living in Keswick formed the Stop The Blot campaign group to oppose the development, which was first mooted in 2015.

The campaign was supported by former Norwich City star Darren Huckerby, who lives in Keswick, and TV presenter Jake Humphrey, who grew up in nearby Stoke Holy Cross.

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The developers amended some of the plans following a first round of public consultation, but Keswick and Intwood Parish Council, Caistor St Edmund Parish Council and Cringleford Parish Council all objected to both sets of plans.

Other objections came from Norwich Cycling Campaign, while South Norfolk Council's own landscape architect raised concerns over 'significant harm in terms of visual effect'.

There were more than 50 other letters of objection, with concerns including extra traffic, that it would be an eyesore and that the use of the site was in conflict with agreed blueprints for development.

And councillors turned the scheme down on the grounds of the harm to the landscape.

Jeremy Cocks, who helped set up the Stop The Blot campaign, said: 'We are delighted, It's been two years of us worrying about it.

'There's been a lot of hard work behind the scenes. But we were very pretty pessimistic going into the meeting, as the officers had recommended approval and we thought the committee might just rubber stamp it.

'But, having listened to us and to the developers, a lot of the councillors were clearly not convinced by the application.

'We are hopeful that is the last we will see of it, but we will have to see if they come back with a revised application or if they appeal it.'

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