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Fears 18 proposed new homes will be destructive to bats and newts

PUBLISHED: 16:40 21 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:40 21 October 2019

An application for 18 properties on land north of Wretham Road in Great Hockham, has prompted concern over wildlife. Picture: Google Streetview

An application for 18 properties on land north of Wretham Road in Great Hockham, has prompted concern over wildlife. Picture: Google Streetview

Google Streetview

Concerns over a "destructive" impact on wildlife have been raised by residents living at the site of a proposed development of almost 20 new homes.

A planning application to build 18 properties, on land north of Wretham Road in Great Hockham, has prompted concern from neighbours and environmental experts over its impact on wildlife including deer, squirrels and bats.

The scheme, proposed by Broadland Housing Association, will entail "a new high-quality residential development of 10 affordable and eight open market family homes", according to a design and access statement by architects, Ingleton Wood.

But village residents expressed their concerns on Breckland council's planning website, with one resident saying the proposals would have "an adverse and destructive effect on the area".

They said wildlife surveys on the presence of bats and protected crested newts were not in the application, and said there was an "abundance of bats" in summer.

While another resident added: "There is high bat activity in the immediate area."

And another resident said: "We have wildlife using our garden including deer, pheasants, squirrels, and a variety of birds, bats and amphibious creatures. "This development would prevent them enjoying our garden and us from enjoying seeing them."

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But parish councillors backed the scheme, with clerk David Childerhouse stating the council "continue to support this application", and the developers saying the site's landscaping would "respect the transition between village and rural".

But other residents said the demand for housing was limited.

"We fail to see how there is a need for 18 new houses here when there are currently eight for sale," they said.

"If the desperation is that great, surely they would be snapped up?"

They added: "This development seems to be being done for financial gain rather than to benefit the village.

"No consideration has been given to neighbours, or the look of the village, or the local wildlife."

And another resident said the number of homes was "unsustainable", with the closest doctors, dentists and shops located six miles away.

Breckland councillors are set to make a decision on the plans at a planning committee meeting on Monday, October 28.

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