‘Our vibrant community will not be torn apart’ - campaigners reflect on successful two-year battle to ‘Save Our Sculthorpe’
- Credit: Ian Burt
Campaigners have been breathing a huge sigh of relief and reflecting on their successful two-year fight to prevent their village being doubled in size.
We have reported how a planning inspector recently rejected an appeal made by Indigo on behalf of Amstel Group Corporation to overturn the North Norfolk District Council's decision to prevent 200 homes from being built in Sculthorpe, near Fakenham.
Campaigners successfully argued that the proposals were on such a large scale that they threatened to completely transform the character of the village and add a huge amount of pressure on already strained infrastructure.
Many people compared the housing proposals to attempting to build a second village within a village.
Tony Walters, chairman of Sculthorpe Parish Council, said: 'Many residents frequently asked me, with trepidation, what the likely outcome of the appeal would be but now they approach me with smiles on their faces.
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'To say they are highly delighted is an understatement.
'The residents who told me they would move out of Sculthorpe if it proceeded can now relax.
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'The impact on their lives during the building phase would have been disrupting enough but the longer term effect would have changed our whole culture.'
The plans, which were initially presented in 2015, led to a community-wide campaign against Amstel and Indigo with nearly every household displaying posters and billboards brandishing the slogan 'Save Our Sculthorpe' or 'Say No to Indigo'.
After the plans were rejected by North Norfolk District Council an appeal was lodged in 2016, with Indigo focusing their efforts to overturn the decision on the council not having an effective five-year plan for housing.
But the planning inspector said in the final report that a 'robust and convincing' plan is in place.
Mr Walters added: 'We all accept there is a national shortage of houses but this agricultural field is considered not to be a suitable site.
'This is vibrant and cohesive community and it should not be broken apart.
'We are greatly indebted to North Norfolk District Council for vigorously opposing the plans of a company on the British Virgin Islands to build in our village.'