Questions over Black Beauty author’s links to Norwich property as neighbours oppose house building in its garden

Neighbours in St Clements Hill, who along with the nearby school and others, are battling to stop tw

Neighbours in St Clements Hill, who along with the nearby school and others, are battling to stop two houses being built on the garden of 76 St Clements Hill.Photo by Simon Finlay - Credit: Simon Finlay Archant Norfolk

A planner believes houses should be constructed in a city garden - after claiming Black Beauty novelist Anna Sewell had a bungalow built on the land after falling out with her sister.

Proposals for two semi-detached, single-storey properties on land at the back of 76 St Clements Hill, Norwich, have attracted strong opposition from neighbours.

Their concerns include loss of green space in a conservation area and vehicles leaving the site posing a risk to hundreds of Sewell Park College pupils walking in the area. The applicant has disagreed with these suggestions.

But the tale of the St Clements Hill address, included in planning documents, states Anna Sewell's sister lived in separation in a bungalow at the back of number 76 after they had a disagreement.

Records suggest Yarmouth-born Sewell, who died in 1878, did not have a sister - only a brother named Philip.


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Richard Anderson-Dungar, the agent for applicant John Rose, said: 'The information was given by the present owner. I just took it at face value. It was their [the owner's] parents who lived in the property. They had been there for some time. They recollected the building had been bombed and re-built during the war. Whatever the relation was, they had fallen out and that was why the other development was built on the garden. Whether she got that confused with the brother, I don't know.'

The Sewell family, including Anna, have connections to the area. But neighbours say they have yet to find evidence of a house being built in the garden of 76 St Clements Hill.

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Norwich City Council delayed making a decision on the application last month to further examine the garden's ecology.

Paul Duff, of St Clements Hill, said: 'We are very supportive of the idea that we shouldn't be messing with a conservation area.'

Tony Gilyead, business director at Sewell Park College, said of the proposal for vehicles to leave the site via Chambelin Road: 'We are concerned as 95pc of our students walk down here on their school route.'

Mr Anderson-Dungar said this access lane was already used by existing residents.

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