Residents voice views on homes plan

Dozens of residents gave their opinions yesterday on proposals to build up to 800 new homes to the south of Wymondham.

The first public exhibition into the plans, which also include a new primary school, nursery home, allotments and playing fields, took place in Fairland Church Centre.

The proposals, which incorporate a 42-hectare agricultural site straddling Rightup Lane, have been put forward by Endurance Estates Strategic Land, which believes the area offers the 'most sustainable location' due to its proximity to the town centre and the train station.

The exhibition, which also ran today, aims to gather local feedback on the proposals which will be fed into a masterplan for the whole area.

A further pre-planning application display will then take place before formal plans are submitted to South Norfolk Council - a stage the developer hopes to meet by the end of this year or early next year.

Jacqueline Mulliner, technical director at planning consultancy Terence O' Rourke Ltd, which is drawing up the masterplan, said there was a housing need in the area and south Wymondham was a 'key' site for growth due to its walking and cycling distance to the town centre as opposed to rival developments proposed for the north of the town.

She added: 'We will always accept that some people will not want development, but if south Wymondham is the right place for development we want to know how can we respond effectively to Wymondham and make this a new neighbourhood of the town instead of a bolt on.'

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Some residents visiting the exhibition said they were anxious there was not the demand for so many homes.

Georgette Vale said: 'I'm very concerned that all the proposals are building for buildings sake. I know that we have been told by politicians that expansion has to take place but I really can't see where there is a need for it.'

She also worried about the development's closeness to The Lizard nature spot.

Resident Julie Thorpe said she liked the inclusion of a school and new community facilities in Endurance Estate's proposals but worried about infrastructure and the effect on the historic market town's character.

'It's a small, charming town which is becoming a lot bigger and we need the infrastructure. It's a charming little town centre but you feel its going to get swamped,' she said.