Sprowston urged to have its say as vision of town’s future is laid out

The parade of shops on Wroxham road, Sprowston.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The parade of shops on Wroxham road, Sprowston.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A vision for the future of one of Norwich's biggest growth areas has been laid out.

The draft Sprowston Neighbourhood Plan details how the town aims to retain its own character in the face of developments which will bring thousands of new homes to the area over the next 15 years.

Town councillors say it will also act as a powerful statement of intent for the community, which developers keen to build in the area will use when drawing up their blueprints.

Ken Lashley, chairman of Sprowston Town Council and the neighbourhood plan steering group which has drawn up the plan over the past year, said it would give the people of Sprowston a voice in the face of change.

He said: 'Sprowston is likely to be the destination of a great deal of development in the next 20 years. With this plan we are hoping to get the development the way we would like to see it go, rather than just being a done deal with the developer and Broadland District Council.' Town clerk June Hunt said discussions with residents had given early direction to the neighbourhood plan.

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One of the plan's key aims is to 'reinstate a sense of settlement and community identity', which it says has been lost because of Norwich's expansion. Ms Hunt said: 'They told us they felt there wasn't a centre to Sprowston they could identify with.

'We have a lot of development in the area and a lot of business in the area, and it's our way of involving ourselves in it all more.

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'We are very much on the corner of Norwich, but people want to recognise the fact that Sprowston is not joined with other areas. To do that, you have got to create a local hub.'

The neighbourhood plan will be put out to consultation and approved by Broadland District Council to ensure it fits with the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) – a blueprint for growth – and will then be used to assess future planning applications.

Having a neighbourhood plan means Sprowston Town Council receives a higher proportion of Community Infrastructure Levy money, a fee collected on completed homes, and further funding would come from section 106 developer contributions.

Broadland district councillor Bill Couzens said of future development: 'We can't stop it. It's like trying to cross a fast-flowing river. You can't go directly against it: you have to work with it to get to the other side,' he said. 'The plan will give us more control as a council of our own destiny. It will mean any new development has to be in keeping with the neighbourhood.'

The draft Neighbourhood Plan is available at www.sprowston-tc.gov.uk or at the town council offices at the Sprowston Diamond Centre, School Lane, Sprowston. Comments can be sent to townclerk@sprowston-tc.gov.uk and must be submitted by June 28.

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