Neighbours fear life 'in shadow of a carbuncle' over planned extension
- Credit: Sarah Burgess
A Norwich community desperate to stave off a "hideous" upward extension has gone all out in its campaign to make developers and councillors heed their plight.
Ipswich-based developer Witnesham Ventures Limited submitted plans to Norwich City Council for a two-storey extension on one of Earlham Court's residential blocks in February - making it four floors in total. The plans say this would create eight new four one-bed and four two-bed flats.
According to plans these would be sold at market prices and would come with 12 new cycle-spaces for hypothetical tenants, but no car parking facilities. Only the residential block next to The Dell would be affected: the blocks adjacent to Heigham Grove would remain two-storeys high.
Existing residents of the Grove and Court are appalled by the proposals, with 50 objection letters currently displayed on the City Council's planning portal and objection posters displayed in nearly every window.
For Sam Wright, who lives in the block earmarked for development, it's a question of his home turning into a building site or, worse yet, what will happen to him while the work is completed.
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"It was horrible to see the letter come through the door", he said. "We're all assuming the worst-case scenario."
The developer and their agent have been contacted for comment.
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For those who live behind the block, the concerns relate to "over-dominant" and environmentally inappropriate building work taking place in a conservation area subject to frequent land subsidence due to its chalk bed.
Ward councillor for the Greens, Denise Carlo, said: "I am totally in support of my constituents here. I'm not against development generally but this one would just be hideous, not to mention dangerous."
"This entire area is sinking", said Earlham Court objector Carolyn Le Moignan. "If they double the weight of this block above us I honestly fear my own flat would fall into the ground."
Jill Smyth, who has lived on Heigham Grove for 34 years, said: "In 1988 a crater opened up in my neighbours' garden, a sewer collapsed one Christmas and a sink hole appeared at the Black Horse pub in 2019. It's quite terrifying really."
David Underwood and his partner Petra Szabo added that parking was already a huge difficulty for residents, and that the people "unlucky enough" to face the development may end up "living in the shadow of a carbuncle".