Campaign opposes housing plans in picturesque part of town

The 3D plans for the Washbridge development in Dereham. Picture: Patternson Design

The 3D plans for the Washbridge development in Dereham. Picture: Patternson Design - Credit: Archant

Dozens of people have set up a campaign against plans to build six homes on a town’s meadow.

Washbridge, Dereham. Picture: GOOGLE

Washbridge, Dereham. Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

The application, submitted to Breckland Council by Davidge Developments, is to develop part of Lucy’s Meadow in the gardens of Glebelands bungalow in Washbridge, Dereham.

The land borders Dereham Church Infant School and is near to St Nicholas Parish Church.

The scheme includes plans to help the school by providing six regular and two disabled drop-off and pick-up parking bays, as well as eight bicycle racks.

Historic England and Dereham Town Council have objected to the plans, which were first submitted on March 12.

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A spokesperson from Dereham Town Council said: “The town council strongly objects to this application. The proposal is over development, there is no degree of integration or compatibility with the surrounding area.”

In a design and access statement sent to Breckland Council, Davidge Developments said: “It is important to preserve the landscaping to the perimeter where it [the development] is actually seen.”

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Historic England objected to the application on heritage grounds.

Inspector of historic buildings and areas David Eve said: “Development of the application site would result in harm to the significance of the grade I-listed church of St Nicholas whose setting it forms and not constitute sustainable development in terms of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).”

In response to Historic England’s objection, Davidge Developments said: “We would argue that, despite the site being sited in such a concealed location, if and when it is able to be seen up close, it materially intends to blend with the natural elements of the area it is located within a closer proximity to.

“The development may be visually further away to the built-up town but we have still integrated aspects as seen into the design, notably by mimicking the angle of the pitched rooves as seen in the area.”

Since the plans were submitted, residents have began campaigning to ‘save Washbridge’.

One resident who objected the application said: “This large development seems totally inappropriate in a charming quiet corner right in the centre of Dereham. Washbridge is a narrow lane much used as a footpath by school children from Scarning so the increased traffic would cause a serious problem and danger.”

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