'It won't be a small market town anymore' - your views on 1,800 home plan
- Credit: Neil Didsbury
We hit the streets of North Walsham to gather opinion on North Walsham West, a project which will transform the town and see its population boom with 1,800 new homes.
North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker threw his support behind the plans saying he was "delighted" to see plans for his constituency's most populous town.
He said: "It's really encouraging to see some well thought out and innovative plans to how we can sympathetically grow the town, putting more jobs, employment and affordable homes in the town.
"We need to carefully develop it over the next 15 years to make sure we get the right plan that the community are comfortable with.
"The plans are designed to try and help develop the town, along with the right infrastructure and there is already talk of perhaps a new medical centre and a primary school.
"This is a very long term project, 15 years is long time in the future, but it's very rare that a community can have such a large number of homes built on it's periphery and residents are largely comfortable with that and I think that's because it's being done sympathetically."
Shoppers and traders in the town centre, though, had mixed views on the plans.
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Phil Mole from nearby West Runton, who was shopping in the town said he was "shocked" by the number of new homes.
He said: "It's an exciting project, the old North Walsham I knew as a child has always had a lot of development, almost 360 degrees around the town.
"Where they're going to put 1,800 houses goodness knows, I wouldn't complain about the numbers of houses but the types of houses.
"If they're not building properties for ordinary people, but they are building [for people with] £500,000 jobs, that's not what North Walsham wants."
At Swallows Coffee Shop, owner Julie Cameron said she was pleased about the new link road between Cromer Road and Norwich Road but said it would be "the only plus point to come out of it".
She said: "It's a lot of houses and it'll change how North Walsham is, it won't be a small market town anymore.
"But changes have to be made to bring in the new things they're talking about, like schools and doctors, I don't know how they'd go about introducing that."
Colin Page, who runs the town's sweet shop and tobacconist was concerned as to whether infrastructure would keep up with an increased population.
He said: "It's quite a significant number of homes, and you've also got to think about things like surgeries and schools, and whether infrastructure is up to it.
"It's alright to keep building houses but those houses need schools and medical attention, that sort of thing needs to be thought about.
"In theory, it would improve trade, I suppose the more people here, the more people should use the town but it hasn't always worked that way in the past.
"My only other concern is where are these people going to work, there's not much employment around here particularly."
Candice Pardon, who was out shopping with her daughter Kyrah supported the idea, saying more housing and a new school was needed in the town.
She said: "I think it's a good idea, there's more housing needed and it's good that there's going to be a new school as well which will be helpful and a new doctors would be nice as well."
North Norfolk District Councillor for North Walsham West ward, Don Birch, said he supported the plans adding that North Walsham's development was inevitable.
He said: "It's better to have a plan, because the town is going to grow over the years and it's quite a long plan being 15 years, so it's not like it's in the next five years.
"It's much better to say in the next 15 years, this is how we should grow, so I'm very much in favour of that rather than just having a five year plan."