Mixed response to Long Stratton bypass plan

Villagers have given a 'mixed' response to plans that could double the size of Long Stratton, despite going hand in hand with a long-awaited bypass project.

The south Norfolk village, notorious for its congestion at morning and evening rush hours on the A140, has been the subject of a relief road campaign since the 1930s.

But planning officials told locals at the weekend that proposals to build 1,800 new homes over the next 15 years were the only realistic prospect of delivering a Long Stratton bypass.

The first in a series of public consultation events was held on Saturday to give residents a chance to comment on the plans, which form part of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership's Joint Core Strategy. Local people are also being asked their views on where new housing and employment land should go and what improvements can be made as part of an Area Action Plan.

Tim Horsepole, planning and housing policy manager at South Norfolk Council, said there had been a good turn out for the first of four Long Stratton exhibitions over the next month.

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'It is very mixed. Some people think we do not need a bypass, others think it should be publicly funded, and others recognise that housing is the only way to get the bypass. If there is no bypass, there is no homes. We will expect developers to provide it and it will be written into legal agreements during the planning process.'

'As a council, we will still look to put pressure on to get public funding, but realistically the only way we can achieve it is through a developer-led scheme. It is likely to be a shorter length and it is unlikely to be dual carriageway,' he said.

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Hopes for a dual carriageway bypass were dashed last year when a �35m scheme expired and Norfolk County Council opted to not renew planning permission.

South Norfolk Council is set to exhibit a relief road route during another consultation next spring, with construction work anticipated to begin in 2017/18.

Parish councillors and members of the village's bypass campaign group have expressed concern about a 'watered down' bypass scheme, which would not stretch as far as the Hempnall crossroads on the A140.

But Eric Linford, who has lived in the village for 17 years, and attended Saturday's consultation, said he was in favour of the plans as long as extra doctor and dentist provision was made.

'It [a bypass] would improve the middle of Long Stratton and I personally welcome the trade-off, providing the amenities keep pace,' he said.

South Norfolk is earmarked to receive more than 10,000 homes by 2026 as part of the joint core strategy. For more information, visit www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/ldf

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