Neighbours fear life 'in shadow of a carbuncle' over planned extension

Green Councillor Denise Carlo with resident of Heigham Grove

Green councillor Denise Carlo (left) looks out over the proposed development site with a resident who is helping orchestrate objection letters and posters to be displayed in Heigham Grove windows - 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.

The block earmarked for development, which sits back slightly from Earlham Road

The block earmarked for development, which sits back slightly from Earlham Road - Credit: Sarah Burgess

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.

Objection letters in residents' windows around the Grove

Objection letters in residents' windows around the Grove and Earlham Court - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Objection letters in residents' windows around the Grove

Objection letters in residents' windows around the Grove and Earlham Court - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Objection letters in residents' windows around the Grove

Objection letters in residents' windows around the Grove and Earlham Court - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Fazlun and Saba Khalid in their Heigham Grove flat

Fazlun Khalid and Saba Khalid have lived in their block, directly behind the proposed development site on a higher level, for 3 years. They said they would be devastated if the application was granted - Credit: Sarah Burgess

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.

Sam Wright, who lives in the affected block, said his mind had gone to the "worst case scenario"

Sam Wright, who lives in the affected block, said his mind had gone to the "worst case scenario" - Credit: Sarah Burgess

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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."

Earlham Road planning objections

The building on the left is subject to a planning application for an upward extension for two storeys, but the ones to the right and front of it are not. This has led to concerns it may become a "carbuncle" and out of sync with the rest of the environment - Credit: Google

Residents of Earlham Court said cracks had been forming on the pavement around the site for years

Residents of the block said cracks had been forming on the pavement around the site for years, and that it would be madness to put any more pressure on the ground - Credit: Sarah Burgess

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".

Elaine Dawson, Earlham Road resident

Elaine Dawson, who lives opposite the development on Earlham Road, said there had already been sink holes at the Plantation Garden and near the Black Horse since she'd been at the house, and was fearful of giving them "any more reason" to appear - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Neighbours are also objecting on the other side of Earlham Road

Neighbours are also objecting on the other side of Earlham Road - Credit: Sarah Burgess


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