Plans for homes at former Ditchingham Maltings site

A site that has remained derelict for more than a decade could soon be home to more than 100 homes.

The former Ditchingham Maltings site, in Pirnhow Street, has been unused since a major fire in 1999, and since then has seen a number of twists and turns as developers showed interest.

Now the PJ Livesey Group has submitted a planning application to the Broads Authority for 92 houses, 13 apartments and 216 car parking spaces and on Saturday villagers will get the chance to have a look at the plans.

The application is for 29 two bedroom houses, 55 three bedrooms, eight with four bedrooms or more, and 13 two bedroom apartments.

All buildings and structures on the north side of Alma Beck would be demolished with the original silk mill building to be converted, if the plans go ahead.

The development company would also create areas of open spaces with a play area, trees, hedges and vegetation, and new access to Alma Bridge, as well as a pedestrian footbridge by Ditchingham Dam.

Ditchingham parish council clerk John Smith said: 'The general opinion is wonderful that something is happening at last.'

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The developers, who are based in Manchester, specialise in transforming historic buildings, and Mr Smith said the council was delighted when it saw what the firm had done at Read Mills, near Carrow Road, in Norwich.

Last year the group held two public consultations after exchanging contracts to buy the Ditchingham site. Country & Metropolitan Homes, as part of the Gladedale Group had previously achieved planning permission for redeveloping the site in 2003.

A statement on behalf of PJ Livesey said: 'To ensure that the development provides a realistic and viable way of safeguarding the long term future of this prominent derelict site, the scheme proposals have been based on the need to provide a mix of units that will be saleable in this location, including new-build houses and apartments, together with houses and a small number of apartments within the few industrial buildings that are capable of refurbishment and conversion.'

As part of the application the company is proposing to offer a limited fee to the community through a section 106 agreement.

It is prepared to support affordable housing, the local primary school and library provision, give inscribed World War Two bricks to the British Legion, help improve facilities at the Maltings Pavilion Sports and Social Club, and the village hall for Ditchingham Parish Council, with the Broads Authority, Norfolk County Council and South Norfolk District Council allowed to distribute it.

Responses on the application are due early next month, with neighbours given until February 9 to reply. The application is likely to go before the Broads Authority's planning committee at the end of March.

The plans will be on show at Ditchingham Village Hall from 11am-3pm on Saturday.

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