No more large-scale housing in Wymondham, say action group
A Wymondham action group has written to South Norfolk Council urging the authority not to approve any more large-scale housing developments until the conclusion of its own plan for the town.
Vision: Our Wymondham (VOW) has submitted its opinions on the authority's latest consultation, which asked residents to choose which areas would be most suitable for development out of a list put forward by landowners.
Feedback from the consultation, which ended on Friday, will be used to determine the council's Local Development Framework (LDF) which will provide a blueprint for new housing across the district over the next 16 years.
In its response, VOW has asked that no landowner should be allowed to pre-empt the findings of the consultative process.
Clive Walker, a member of VOW, said: 'It seems crazy to us that the council is spending a lot of money doing this consultation and what we would like is for all landowners to respect that, although many do seem to be holding off until the findings are known.'
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The group's comments follow the council's decision to reconsider controversial proposals for up to 350 homes to the north of Wymondham in the light of similar plans across the country being rejected by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The application was narrowly approved by the authority's planning committee in September, but is to come back before councillors during a special meeting on December 2.
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Mr Walker said the move was 'very encouraging', adding: 'We do believe, particularly as the land lies outside the council's planned area for development, that if it goes ahead then it will drive a coach and horses through the council's own policies.'
Wymondham is due to grow by 2,200 homes by 2026, according to the Joint Core Strategy (JCS).
Within its letter, VOW urged the council not to increase the number of homes and that any recently approved housing plans be counted towards the total.
The group also asked that the gap between Wymondham and Hethersett be maintained and pledged to 'strongly support' proposals for smaller developments spread around the town rather than in one urban extension.
It recommended sustainable developments within reasonable walking distance of the town centre and called for services, such as schools and doctors surgeries, to be planned alongside them.
The letter also urged for housing designs to respect the rich history of the market town and areas of natural beauty be protected.
Mr Walker said: 'We all realise the town is going to grow by 2,200 homes. That has been agreed and we hope the council will stick to that.
'Wymondham has grown over the last 100 years and will continue to do so but all we're trying to do is make the council realise that residents love their town and we would like them to make the right decisions.'