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Anger at Norfolk village developers

PUBLISHED: 18:00 12 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:26 01 July 2010

David Bills, one of Hethersett's two councillors on South Norfolk Council.

David Bills, one of Hethersett's two councillors on South Norfolk Council.

Sarah Hall

The tactics of developers who want to build thousands of new homes on the outskirts of Norwich have come under fire from angry villagers.

The tactics of developers who want to build thousands of new homes on the outskirts of Norwich have come under fire from angry villagers.

A group of landowners who want to build in Hethersett last year lodged a 'scoping request' for up to 4,000 homes in the village with South Norfolk District Council last year and in March two 'community workshops' were organised in the village by land promotion company Ptarmigan Land and architects John Thompson and Partners.

The consultants say the building of new homes could provide the funding for improvements such as a new school, a park and sports facilities, through developer contributions known as section 106 agreements.

But villagers who do not want the homes built have opposed the proposals and are angry the developers are holding another public meeting which has been named the Hethersett Village Forum.

David Bills, who represents Hethersett on South Norfolk Council, said: “I think it is absolutely disgusting for them to call this the Hethersett Village Forum.

“They have got a nerve calling it that, because it just isn't true. It's organised by developers, not by the village.”

The Greater Norwich Development Partnership's Joint Core Strategy - a blueprint drawn up by local councils for where homes should be built to meet government targets - has earmarked Hethersett as having the potential for 1,000 new homes, but Mr Bills is cross the developers are trying to make it sound like the district council wants this development.

He took issue with an unattributed quote used on literature to publicise the meeting, which stated: “I don't want it and we don't need it, but it's what the council wants. So we might as well make it work.”

Mr Bills said: “It's not what the council wants. We had won the battle to stop 4,000 homes from being built in Hethersett, but were forced to accept 1,000 over the next 15 years. How those homes are distributed is still up for debate.

“The district council really has worked very hard and this goes against all our policies. We don't want Wymondham joined to Hethersett and Hethersett joined with Norwich.”

Phil Emery, who runs the post office in Hethersett and organised a public meeting opposing the proposals last month, said: “We are going to go to listen to what some of they have to say and will then endeavour to put them straight on a few things.

“It's a condition of planning these days that people have to have engaged with the community, so this is them going through the motions.”

A spokesman for the organisers of the meeting said it was the first in a planned series to enable the community to continue playing a role in the development of the proposals by “taking ownership of the whole project”.

The meeting will take place in Hethersett Village Hall from 6.30pm tomorrow .

Further details are available by visiting www.communityplanning.co.uk, while villagers opposed to the proposals have set up their own website at www.hethersett.net

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